Ilayaraja wins copyright for all his songs, Court orders to get permission from him before using his songs

Ilayaraja wins musical copyright for all his songs
It is Ilayaraja behind lot of people to go to sleep at night by hearing his songs in FMs and TV Channels in Tamil Nadu. It may not be the case in future after the recent court order.

A day after securing a court order against five audio recording companies from making and selling his compositions, veteran musician Ilayaraja today said henceforth his consent was mandatory for using his works.

"The (Madras) High Court has ordered that my songs cannot be downloaded or sold through CDs or any other means. Henceforth, without getting the rights from me none should use my songs," he said.

The Madras High Court had yesterday made absolute the interim injunction granted by it against five audio recording companies from making and selling film music compositions of the music director violating his copyright.

“Only I hold the right to all my songs. The agreements that I signed back in the day were valid only for five years. Since they were not renewed and no royalties have been paid, all agreements stand void,” said composer Ilayaraja and added that the money he would get by selling the rights would be shared with the producer of the film, singers, and lyricists.

“Anyone wishing to obtain the rights of his songs may approach the producers’ council,” said Kalaipuli. S. Thanu, president, Tamil Film Producers’ Council.

The composer said the companies were granted the right to sell the music on the condition that they would pay royalties. “I cultivated the land and I agreed to give my produce to the seller for a fee. But that doesn’t mean the seller can stake a claim to the coconut tree that I planted,” he said.

While Ilayaraja holds the absolute copyrights for his songs, this move was sure to revive the debate on intellectual property rights as young composers were being coaxed into signing unreasonable agreements by big audio labels.

The announcement by Ilayaraja has put FM and TV channels off guard as Ilayaraja songs dominate radio and television channels at night.

A senior executive from a leading Tamil channel said that they were yet to see what this would mean legally even as he insisted that they did not violate any copyright.

Ilayaraja, 71, had filed a petition seeking to restrain Agi Music private Limited, Echo Recording Company Private Limited, Unisys Info Solutions Private Limited, Agi Music sdn bhd, Malaysia and Giri Trading Company, Mumbai, from manufacturing and selling, distributing or in any manner infringing his exclusive right under the Copyright Act-1957.

The veteran musician has composed music for about 4500 songs since 1970 in various languages, with many of them being chartbusters.

-With inputs from The Hindu


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