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Updated: January 18, 2014 23:38 IST

T-Series lets go One by Two

Lalatendu Mishra
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Abhay Deol
Special Arrangement
Abhay Deol

The music giant had reportedly asked the composers to sign “illegal” contracts

In the wake of a campaign waged by Bollywood music composers, singers and lyricists, who sought to protect the copyright of their creations, music label company T-Series (Super Cassettes Industries) has decided to relinquish the music rights of the soon-to-be-released Hindi movie One By Two.

The movie is co-produced by actor Abhay Deol and rights holder Viacom 18 Motions Pictures.

The music of the movie should have been released earlier, but T-Series, which had acquired the rights from Viacom 18, insisted that the composers Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy and others abdicate the copyright in its favour. But the musicians, actively backed by their association, and Mr. Deol held on to their stance.

T-Series had no contracts with Mr. Deol, music trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, singers Sonu Nigam and Kailash Kher or lyricist Javed Akhtar. When T Series wanted Viacom to get their approval, the musicians and Deol protested.

“The document which T Series wanted us to sign was against law, and we refused to oblige. It was a chain reaction. It was a matter of being able to change the system and stand for what is right,” Shankar Mahadevan, composer and singer, told The Hindu.

“T-Series wanted us—the composers and authors-- to assign them the right to collect our royalty which is illegal. The royalty legally should go to us or to Indian Performing Right Society Ltd. (IRPS) not to them (T-Series). We refused to sign. Now, music has come back to the producers and we will release the album.

This is for the first time in the history of the film industry that the authors and composers will be able to collect the royalty by themselves,” Mr. Mahadevan added.  T Series, in a statement, said; “We have decided to relinquish the music rights of One By Two. Although we had all the rights from Viacom, we could not release the music album in the absence of a valid link between Viacom and composers of the album. We wish all the very best to Mr Deol for his film.” Viacom’s media relations executive did not get back despite several attempts.

“It is a clear indication of how they (T Series) arm twist producers to compel composers, lyricists and singers to sign their illegal contracts ,” Sonu Nigam, playback singer, told The Hindu.

Explaining the legal position Anumeha Iyer, Associate Advaya Legal, a full service commercial law firm, told The Hindu: “The recently amended Copyright Act, 1957 has introduced a spate of author-friendly changes . The existing framework has various mechanisms in place to guarantee independent rights to authors of musical works which were hitherto rampantly exploited by powerful record labels.”

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