January 17, 2020
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Naushad Ali

The composer defends royalty rights, currently the bone of much contention

Naushad Ali
What is all this controversy about?
The Hotel Federation of India feels that the rates charged by the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) for copyrights are too high and has filed a case with the MRTPC.

Have any benefits trickled down to composers since the copyright amendment?
The amendments are being actively enforced only now. But yes, the spoils are finally being distributed.

What have been the most visible benefits?
The IPRS earns royalty of almost Rs 1 crore annually from India, distributing it among its members. Its earnings from affiliates abroad have been higher.

What are the main problem areas?
Radio still pays producers and not composers for music. We have a case, but no legal rights. We composed in an era when the term contract did not exist!

Is the IPRS as good a watchdog as its other international affiliates?
We're talking to people, convincing them to join us as members. Our base has expanded substantially with centres in Bangalore, Chennai, and affiliates around the world.

What are your thrust areas?
We were planning a major media blitz in Calcutta, for a centre there. But the plans were postponed due to the political mess. TV is another area that needs attention.

Does the IPRS plan to fight the rampant plagiarism in music industry?
Unfortunately, IPRS is only concerned with copyrights. Plagiarism is to be dealt with by the Cine Music Directors' Association (CMDA), which has been dead for long.

What became of the proposals you presented to the CMDA?
I had suggested that tunes be registered formally, so that if it was lifted, the original composers could resort to legal recourse. But nothing has been done.

What has happened to your ambitious plans for a serial on Tansen?
After DD threw out a rather badly made serial on the same topic, a case was filed by the latter. As a result, my Tansen has been left knocking at the door!

How do you intend to sustain your fight to keep our music culture alive?
Through the Naushad Academy of Hindustani Sangeet, which will present a show at Nehru Centre on March 24. We await a nod from the government for land grants.

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