Bollywood producers hope to amicably resolve copyright issue

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MUMBAI - After deferring their Jan 6 strike, Bollywood producers Wednesday hoped to soon resolve the raging controversy over the proposed amendment to the Copyright Act that mandates producers sharing 50 percent of music royalties with lyricists and composers.

The industry has been facing various issues like the copyright issue among others, which have brought the industry to a paralytic stage. However, yesterday (Tuesday) we had important meetings with senior Congress leaders like (Information and Broadcasting Minister) Ambika Soni and (Human Resource Development Minister) Kapil Sibal and got a very positive response, producer Mukesh Bhatt told reporters here.

We have been instructed to engage with the authors and composers and look for a reasonable outcome, which is practical, without jeopardising our business. The government has assured us that both the sides will be heard fairly, and only then will the law be implemented. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the bandh (strike).

The bandh was to protest the government’s behaviour towards the producers. However, in the light of this positive response, it has opened the door for a fair approach, so we have unanimously decided to postpone the bandh and we want to have a positive word with the composers and find a solution, he added.

Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy said they don’t have anything against lyricist Javed Akhtar, who is fighting for changes in the law from the lyricists and composers’ side.

I’m sure if Javed Saab was fighting for something, it must be for something unjust, but the government escalated the matter without consulting us, and our voice remained unheard. Therefore, before yesterday’s (Tuesday) meeting we had a sentiment of there being no other way out apart.

However, now we feel the government is open to taking in account our point of view, and we are very happy that they are seeking justice for both sides, and not just pass a one sided law. We are hopeful resolving this issue, he said.

When quizzed the members of the panel about the ban on Akhtar, President of Film Federation of India T.P. Agarwal clarified they never asked anyone to ban the lyricist.

We have never banned Javed Saab, we had simply advised producers to not sign him till this matter is not resolved. But he is one of us, and has always been, so we will of course discuss the situation with him, he said.

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