IPRS chairman Javed Akhtar spoke to G.C. Shekhar over Ilaiyaraaja's recent remarks that the he needed to be paid royalties for public performance of his songs. "It is my creation, and when you earn money from that, should I not get my due share from that?" he asked in an emotional video post. Excerpts:
Ilaiyaraaja says he has left the IPRS as it has failed him, and has asked the Cine Musicians’ Union to collect his royalties.
Yes he has left us, and it is a sad day for us. Ilaiyaraaja is a true legend, and the quality and quantity of his songs vouch for this. I must admit that when I took over, things were chaotic, but we are setting our house in order. I am truly shocked that he has taken this decision.
The IPRS has been in existence since 1969, and things went smoothly for years. But of late there has been a huge backlog in payments, and the monitoring has also slackened?
Yes, payments were delayed. Since receipts and payments were made physically, there was pilferage. Now we have made everything online—licensing, collection from end users and payment to the creators and performers. We have put together a team of 20 qualified people to streamline the data and monitoring of concerts and other performances. Let us not forget that we are dealing with over a million songs.
Are music composers being cheated when many concerts happen without the knowledge of the IPRS, or when foreign monitoring agencies fail to report these concerts?
This is a recent problem, and will be rectified. Why talk about foreign concerts when a top TV channel headquartered in Chennai has not been paying royalties to Ilaiyaraaja? Some Indian FM stations are regular offenders. Our own people should show some honour to our musical greats.
Will Ilaiyaraaja return to the IPRS?
I plan to meet him soon and explain the corrective steps we have taken. He must be convinced that the IPRS is the correct legal body that has the wherewithal to collect royalty. I will promise him total transparency in the functioning of this body.