Piracy is a daunting challenge to the music industry in contemporary times, said Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam. In spite of an effective law, its implementation was ineffectual.

Inaugurating the 87 annual conference and concerts of The Music Academy here on Sunday, he said more awareness among both musicians and the common people was the need of the hour.

Justice Sathasivam, who presented the Sangita Kalanidhi M.S. Subbulakshmi award instituted by The Hindu to vocalist Sudha Ragunathan, the Sangita Kalanidhi-designate this year, said there was an acute lack of awareness of various issues relating to copyright, though music was an essential part of Indian culture.

“Devastating effect”

He said copyright was a right given by law to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films.

“For more than a decade, the recording industry has been complaining that online copyright infringement is destroying the music industry. The revenue of conventional record labels has plunged in recent years,” he said.

Justice Sathasivam said that even though copyright infringement was a criminal offence and police routinely confiscated and destroyed counterfeit CDs, they were not able to make a dent in their production and sale.

He called upon all stakeholders in the music industry to work together to propel growth — whether it was building the music and live entertainment markets or curbing piracy.

A transition

N. Murali, President of The Music Academy and Co-Chairman, Kasturi and Sons Ltd., said that in choosing Ms. Ragunathan, the Academy had broken new ground by making the transition to the next generation of musicians for conferring the award. “She is, in fact, among the youngest musicians to have been chosen by the Academy for its prestigious award in several years,” he said.

While recalling the contribution of several stalwarts of the legal profession to founding and nurturing many of the leading institutions involved in classical music, he said Justice T.L. Venkatrama Iyer was not only a recipient of the Sangita Kalanidhi award, but also the third president of the Academy.

Ms. Ragunathan said the award gave her a sense of déjà vu, the coincidence being that she came under the tutelage of M.L. Vasanthakumari in the year the guru was awarded Sangita Kalanidhi.

She said everything she learnt was from experience, which included listening to MLV’s programmes and joining her on stage.

Appeal to Jayalalithaa

She made an appeal to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to ensure that music became part of the mainstream academic curriculum instead of being treated as a lesser alternative to the more popular science and engineering disciplines.

Sangita Kalanidhis Bombay C. Lalitha and Trichur V. Ramachandran and secretaries of the Academy K.V. Krishna Prasad and N. Ramji were present.