top of page
  • Writer's pictureShoronya Banerjee

Understanding Intellectual Property Rights In Conformity With Music

Right from having a self-affirmative value to being the by-product of creativity, the intense and fervent effect that music has on all makes it an essential part of everyone's lives. Section 2(p) of Copy Rights Act, 1957 defines 'musical work' as "a work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such work but does not include any words or any action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with music.”

The development of information technology and the growth of digital services have certainly facilitated people discovering new music-making software, beats, and so on. The introduction of technology has unquestionably made the whole process of accessing, making, understanding, and learning music, better and easier. With the growth of the music industry and market, its commercial potential has also led to the growth in the process of stealing other people's works.

The commercialization of music has revealed the great economic value that music carries. Musicians, singers, and so on can possibly earn money through the sales of their music or any products related to it. Live performances and tours too, are one of the channels that bring in the flow of money. But here the intellectual property rights have to step in as it is extremely easy to copy and sell the music of other people. Copyrights and trademarks are crucial for music artists. The intricacies of law do bring in monotony but an artist or creator has to understand the legal formalities and aspects related to the media and entertainment industry. It is essential to understand copyrights because of the process of publishing related to music. When an individual owner or company publishes work related to music, then only can the influx of money begin. If one doesn't own the copyrights then publishing it will not facilitate that person in controlling the money flow in return of the music, someone else or a different company can easily make money out of it in return.

Copyrights protect the interests of the copyright owners, and saves the individual or organisation from commercial exploitation and prevent others from stealing their work. Music sampling either falling within the ambit of the doctrine of fair use or if, prior approval and license have been taken from the copyright holder, can be claimed to be legal. Section 52 of the Copy Right Act, 1957 puts forth certain acts which do not contravene copyrights. For instance, reproducing literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work as a part of a judicial proceeding or for making a report it, if a non-professional clubs performs a dramatic, literary or music piece, and so on.

Right from the 1960s, certain singers of Bollywood led by the very famous Lata Mangeshwar took steps to begin a movement for claiming better payment for singers and every single person related to the making of a song from the companies. The initial days of this movement had witnessed the conflict between Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi. It was after years that lyricist Javed Akhtar and some other artists from the music industry taking after Lata Mangeshkar, took this movement further. They demanded an equal share of the profit earned from the commercialisation of song for all the people involved in the making of it. This issue developed conflicts between several singers and producers of the Bollywood industry like Sonu Nigam and Vidhu Vinod Chopra and so on. With the Lok Sabha clearing the copyright bill and passing the Copyright Amendment Act (2012), tried to solve this situation by putting forth provisions for royalties to be given to the lyricists and musicians lifelong (60 years).

Talking about recent news, the Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd (IPRS) reached an agreement with Facebook for licensing its music collection for videos and other social posts for Facebook and Instagram. The IPRS collection of the songs can be used by people for adding it to their videos, for sharing it on Facebook and Instagram. It applies to other social features like music stickers on stories as well. The IPRS is a representative body constituting people like composers, lyricists, and so on. Under the Copyright Act, 1957, it is authorised to carry on businesses and grant licenses with regard to literary and musical works allocated to it by its members, and also collect and distribute authors’ statutory royalties, for utilising the music in other ways other than the part of a film. This deal with Facebook indicates towards covering licenses and royalties for representing music by the IPRS when used on Facebook and Instagram. This will indeed help artistes and members of IPRS get their music known to people across the country, given the popularity of social media in India, especially Facebook and Instagram.

Law is crucial to help the music industry function as well. Profits cannot be a getaway to steal someone else's work or even keep someone away from it, who has worked extremely hard on the musical piece. Digitalization has certainly resulted in a drastic shift in the industry, and now people rely on digital services to make and get music, this has somewhere also turned out to facilitate severe piracy as well. The trend of music mixing, mashups, refashioning old songs and so on, has turned out to be a great source of copyrights infringement. To avoid this, the legal way and steps to use someone else's music should be followed, which begins with taking prior permission.



40 views0 comments


bottom of page