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Summing up the Music Royalty Scam



The Indian Performing Rights Society(IPRS) is accused of not paying dues to its member lyricists and songwriters. An F.I.R. filed by Shubha Mudgal says that IPRS is also accused of appointing fake members who are neither authors nor composers. Another complaint, in this case, was filed by Chitra Singh in 2016 for not being paid their share of the royalties and against a misleading advertisement that gave an impression that Jagjit Singh was going to perform live. Read on to know how the events unfolded.

3 November 2017– Officers of the Enforcement Directorate raided the offices of T-Series, YRF Music, Saregama, Universal Music, and Sony Music in several locations including Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi.

These music companies have allegedly not paid royalties for songs to their singers, composers and lyricists since 2012.

Vinod Bhanushali, president – marketing, media & publishing, T-Series said,

 “These are surveys, not raids, and we are cooperating with ED.”

7 November 2017– ED summoned Devraj Sanyal (MD & CEO, Universal Music Group) to record his statement in connection with the alleged multi-crore scam regarding non-payment of royalty to artists.

8 November 2017– ED summoned Shridhar Subramaniam (Vice- President, Sony Music India).

According to Enforcement Directorate, royalty to the tune of Rs 2,500 crores is under scanner in a money laundering case.

 9 November 2017– ED summoned Aditya Chopra (Chairman of Yashraj Films) but he didn’t appear.

10 November 2017– After his first statement on 3 November, Vinod Bhanushali said,

“As law-abiding citizens, whatever documents were required from us were submitted to ED. And we have not collected any royalty on behalf of the music composers and lyricists. Rather we have collected royalties only for our sound recordings, which we were legally entitled to as per copyright law for the films for which we have acquired music rights from producers.”

A Yashraj Films spokesperson said ED officials visited the firm “on a fact-finding mission to collect author/composer music documents to assess royalties payable to select artists”.

Sony and Saregama said that they pay royalties from public performance of songs to composers and lyricists. T-Series and YRF told the ED that they were not part of the IPRS umbrella and so were not bound by it.

11 November 2017– Achille Forler, Advisor, IPRS said,

“You cannot license one half of a song, i.e. the recording without its underlying lyrics and composition. The more so if you claim ownership of both rights. And if you nevertheless license only one right, it proves your distinct will to harm the other Interested Parties (authors) in the publishing rights. In the copyright-based industries, nobody can ignore that royalties are the salary and pension plan of authors; by stopping payments of royalties you violate the authors’ fundamental right to livelihood. You violate a human right.”

20 November 2017– ED search was conducted at the premises of Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and Select Media Holdings Private Limited (SMHPL) in connection with the case.

A senior ED officer said,

“As per the agreement between IPRS and the two companies, royalty of Rs 6,000 was agreed to be collected for playing a Hindi song and Rs 3,000 for a song in any other language. Accordingly, several crores were collected by SMHPL but not even a third of it was passed on to PPL. IPRS didn’t receive anything ultimately. We have seized the agreement documents that were signed by the two companies with IPRS and the accounting books pertaining to the royalty collection. The papers will be studied further.”

The major question in this whole scenario is if the royalty is being collected by IPRS and also not being shared with any of the artists than where is all that money going?



‘All the quotes have been sourced from different platforms’

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Abhishek Singh

Author: Abhishek Singh

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