A discussion on copyright in Chennai on Tuesday witnessed the forceful articulation of the need for artists and musicians to come together to safeguard their creative works.
Regretting that the level of awareness of the copyright law was generally low among musicians, Sudha Raghunathan, Carnatic musician and president of the South India Music Companies Association (SIMCA), said that if the musicians displayed unity, they would be able to present their case more effectively and tackle the problem of music piracy.
Pointing out how modern technology was increasingly used for piracy of musical works, she quoted the Korean example of implementation of the ‘three strike' concept, by which users of internet would be disciplined from downloading materials illegally. This had led to the increase in sales.
Ms. Sudha Raghunathan was participating in the discussion organised as part of the fifth annual R.M. Seshadri (1905-1988) memorial event.
Sharan Appa Rao, founder, Apparao Art Galleries, emphasised the importance of unity among artists on issues concerning copyright. She said the art world in the country was not well organised. Normally, the artists did not sell their works through galleries. In many cases, those who were running galleries were adequately knowledgeable. Also, there were grey areas in law on international transactions pertaining to resale of art works.
Mira T. Sundara Rajan, copyright expert and Canada Research Chair in Intellectual Property Law, spoke about moral rights of creators of literary works.
Dr. Sundara Rajan, a great granddaughter of Subramania Bharati, referred to the different treatment given by the authorities to Bharati and Rabindranath Tagore. In the case of Bharati, the copyright was bought [by the State government] and subsequently, given as a gift to the people of the country, whereas in the case of Tagore, the law on copyright was amended to extend the period of copyright to 60 years after his lifetime.
G. Narayanaswamy, veteran chartered accountant, recalled his association with R.M. Seshadri, who, he said, distinguished himself as a civil servant and a legal and taxation expert.
M.S. Bharath, lawyer, and Seshadri Venkatakrishnan, son of Seshadri, were among those present.