A.R.Rahman has taken up a task in hand - and he wants to achieve his goal even if it is at the cost of losing projects! Yes... He has opted out of the Red Chillies production (Shah Rukh Khan's) Om Shanti Om to be directed by Farah Khan. This has been the hot topic of Bollywood, this week!

The task at hand - To force the audio companies to share the publishing rights with the composer and the lyricist. What does Rahman have to say about this?
"I want to push for the copyright of composers and lyricists, even producers. I'm not saying that I want to be the sole proprietor of the songs I compose. But I want a share. There's nothing wrong with that. I can't run to music companies like T-Series and Sa Re Ga Ma every time I need to use my own song."*
A.R.Rahman has taken up this issue seriously, and is ready to face the repercussions.
"I'm standing up for what I think is right. Yes, producers will back out. But that's fine. I'm not insecure about my career. If I lose out on some assignments in Mumbai I'm ready to bear with the loss. I've always been asked why I haven't done a non-film album. Now, I have the time to do that."*
Meanwhile, media has started coming up with baseless stories of SRK replacing A.R.Rahman as he did not like ARR's tunes.
Rahman himself has clarified this issue:
"In fact Shah Rukh tried his utmost to see and to put forward my point of view. Unfortunately, T-Series, the music company which will market the music of Om Shanti Om, would have none of it."*
When worldover, the musicians and lyricists are given rights, why not in India? Also, according to the Indian copyright act, the rights of a soundtrack rest with the composer, lyricist too unless specified otherwise in a contract!
There are many right holders in a musical sound recording. For example, the lyricist who wrote the lyrics, the composer who set the music, the singer who sang the song, the musician (s) who performed the background music, and the person or company who produced the sound recording.

Source: A HAND BOOK OF COPYRIGHT LAW, Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development & Ministry of Secondary Education and Higher Education.
Having studied Indian Copyright Laws and having done a project on Music Copyrights as a part of my course, my understanding of the practices in the industry is this: The music companies like T-Series make the composer and lyricist sign a contract which transfers all ownership to the music companies!

A.R.Rahman has started the fight to change the way the music industry is functioning in India. ARR is not asking for not exclusive rights (some singers abroad do that!), but only a share! And, T-series and other music companies don't want to give even that!!!

"Chaiyya Chaiyya" is now creating waves not because of the audio company which owns the rights! Bombay Theme is famous world over, not because of the audio company. A.R.Rahman has taken Indian music worldwide, and the music companies are reaping the benefits. It is only fair that ARR receives the financial gains for these usages of his works in foreign films and serials. But, the highest paid composer in India is not fighting for monetary gains, but beyond that! He wants to change the practices in the industry, which seem to be unfair to the creators!

A.R.Rahman has tasted some success in his protest, as he has got the share of copyrights for his forthcoming film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, produced by Aamir Khan. Will the others follow suit in sharing the rights?

*Source of Rahman's Interview: Mumbai Mirror
By Aravind on Friday, October 13, 2006 at 1:13 AM Post Categories: ,
Comments
  1. Prasanna

    well said Arvind, and thanks for putting forth the point in a way so that anyone can understand what is going on.I think this is a blessing in disguise as our boss can release his own albums which would give him full freedom while composing and not composing for others imagination.
    Hope the other crap MD's understand his stand...
    hail ARR the trend setter.

  1. Anonymous

    Had a question for you Arvind:

    Do you think the non-film albums ARR has done with Sony (VM, Jana Mana Gana, WOHE, Bombay Dreams) have Rahman as one of the right holders? These were international projects with and international label(sony)...so it would make sense if right sharing was in place.

    Also, how about his film albums under the Sony label (AE, Meenaxi, Guru, Lagaan, etc.). Do you think right sharing is in place here as well?

  1. Aravind

    @ Prasanna:
    ARR is not fighting not just for himself, but for the entire industry... hope other MDs support him!

    @ Anon:
    very valid questions, which I too had in my mind, before writing this post... unfortunately, i could not find the answers for these!!!

  1. RavitheSUN

    @Anonymous:
    I think yes, ARR is one among the right holder. If you happen to look at the credit list for Bombay dreams & VM & WOHE says AR Rahman as the music producer; which, otherwise have not seen in any other albums. I had this question the day all this begn and one of my cousin just reminded about BD and then I searched for other sites which give the credit list "i tunes & real"

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    @ Ravi:
    Thanks for clearing that up!

  1. Ponnarasi Kothandaraman

    Hm.. Nice post! If u in chennai dont miss ARR's interview in TV...

    U r tagged.. Write the tag if u r ook with it :)

  1. Aravind

    @ PK:
    Thnx :)

    me in Bangalore only :(

    And, will do the tag in sometime

  1. visithra

    oh how sad - someone creates something another gets the right

  1. Aravind

    @ Visit:
    Ya... it is.. and it happens only in India!! Hope ARR wins :D

  1. Sanchari

    Yes, I too wish ARR wins. He should have the freedom to use his music which he himself has created. Music companies and film producers should understand the matter. They don't have to leave the whole copyright in the music composer's hand. They are just asked to give the right of share. If they are not ready to do only that, I'm bound to say that they are harmfully selfish. And I hope all music directors will join ARR for their actual rights.

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  1. Sagnick

    Hello
    Nothing much to say but its that it is a pity our so called Mr AR Rahman also steals music from other films !!
    Jane tu ya jaane na has a music which is actually stolen from the movie Death Race which was supposed to be made in 2002 but due to some problems was remade at 2007 and released on august 2008

    Nothing much lol but never expected to find something like this

  1. swapnil

    @sagnick
    There is similarity in music of Jaane tu ya jaane na and Death race...but if you search a bit, you will find that music of death race was released on August 19th, 2008 and Jaane tu ya jaane na movie was released on July 4, 2008.Its music was released much before.

    So how can you say that A.R.Rahman stole music from Death race? Agreed that Death Race was supposed to be made in 2002 but it doesn't mean its music was composed then.

    Its just mentality of Indians(if you are one) to think that Hollywood is better than Bollywood and its us who always copy.But its not always true and i am definitely sure its not true in case of legend like Rehman.

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