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OLD SONGS AS NEW MUSIC TRENDS

INTRODUCTION

Music is an active part of the different junctures of our life and spreads cheeriness and is a source of pleasure in a person’s life. It is the emotion of one’s life and gives him enormous peace. We all have grown up listening to old music of our times and people born in the nineties will relate to it. But as we age up we are seeing a new trend coming up in the last three-four years. What producers are trying to do nowadays is to come back while remixing old songs with new tunes which are getting love and troll hand in hand. It is a fact that the publisher or the label of the song owns the copyright of the song. Now in this particular blog, I want to bring your attention to the provisions specifically about music remixes and how they play a major role in the nascent stages of planning to come up with a musical work.

REMIX CULTURE IN THE MODERN ERA

Influencers recreate such songs by lip-syncing them and making people addicted to them. In this current era of exceptional remixes, a shortfall of originality is found in the music industry. Many people believe that such extracts taken from popular songs must be subjected to Copyright Infringement. If a Re-mix is created without taking advance consent of the author, it might result in an unsanctioned remix and the repercussions will be there. Basically, one has a copyright from the moment one creates something in the specialism of Literature, music, Artistic Work, etc with the caveat that it embodies two essential aspects; the originality of his work and that it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression because of the sole reason that the copyright laws protect expression and not the idea.[1]  In Bollywood, the Indian music industry with time has seen a surge in the production of remixes based on old hit numbers by new-generation artists like Badshah, Tanishk Bagchi, etc. We can consider examples of famous songs, Dus Bahane, Saki Saki, Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare, and many more songs which were all hit tracks earlier in the 90s for their snappy tunes and signature dance steps. Now because these remixes are all over the internet, they are causing an economic threat to the original composers.                                                                                                     

THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957- ITS USES IN THIS REGIME

The worrying part about this framework is that, as much as our normal behaviour puts us at risk of committing a breach of copyright, that is much because our life is digital. The Copyright Act shields the transformation of a musical work, which means that it watches over any adaption of a musical work. An author of a sound recording is guaranteed defined rights via Section 14(e) of the Copyright Act[2]. This proviso lays down the right to produce any other sound recording incorporating it, the right to sell or give on rent any copy of it, and the right to communicate it to the communal widely.

Section 51, of this Act, has to do with the concept of copyright infringement.[3] It lays down that copyrighted work will be considered to be contravened when an individual, in the absence of the license, is permitted by the lawful author of the copyright under the Act or in violation of the process levied by the capable authority.

People are muddled between what is granted and what is not granted, with the riskiness that the law might fall in disgrace. Therefore, to have the law in a working manner in the digital age, there is a necessity to have Copyright exceptions.

 Section 52 (1) (j) of the Copyright Act[4] spells out that putting together sound recordings concerning any literary, dramatic, or musical work, is made with the conformation of the owner or with the license or the person making it, given in written, his intention to make recordings, paid owner his royalty fees in a prescribed manner fixed by Copyright Board.

Now, the debate lies on the fact whether a new copyright should be given for such an adaption or should the copyright possessor of the primary song enjoys ownership of the copyright of the recreated song.  The actual practice followed and mostly seen in the Indian Music Industry is that the bigger labels and production companies take advantage of the lyricists, music composers, and scriptwriters by not granting them their dues whether monetary or in moral terms, and use their work for mint expensive profits.

THE MASAKALI 2.0 CONTROVERSY

The Copyright Act[5] states that the copyright over the sound recording of a song is necessarily vested in the producer of the musical work. Having stated this, there is no reference concerning the authorization of the owners of underlying works made in the Act. To safeguard the justness of the lyricists, composers, etc, a proviso to Section 18 of the Copyright Act[6] was added in consonance with the Amendment of 2012 of the Act[7]. This proviso tries to act as an aid for the authors of the underlying works from getting monetarily exploited. In the present case of the release of ‘Masakali 2.0’, there is an involvement of various parties and stakeholders wherein several contracts must have been signed to create overlapping rights to different parties thus intensifying the situation. It can be said that T-Series should not have unilaterally decided on and released the song ‘Masakali 2.0’ since the authors of the same A.R Rehman and Mohit Chauhan also deserved a fair chance to be informed and a right to present their opinions subsequently for giving or not giving consent of the said remakes.

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS

In today’s time, we have seen the art of making progress in various forms. Artists are making alterations to earlier music and adding a pinch of salt or sugar to their creativity, which in turn has brought numerous obstacles of copyright violation. Nevertheless, we have arrangements like Section 52 (1) (j) of the Act[8], which allows the formation of re-mixes only if the conditions of the Section are gratified, it is particularly important to protect the authors of the primary song and its creativity. Therefore, the Copyright Act must make room for established amendments that serve the needs of both: the author of the primary song and the creator of the re-mix. This section permits an individual to use an original recording once only two years have elapsed since the public release by delivering a notice to the owner. Even after doing so, the individual is bound to pay a royalty fee which is decided not by the owner but by the Copyright Board of the proceeds made post the first release.

In this sense, it can be considered that the copyright of a sound recording that would be protected for 60 years is now being curtailed to mere 2 years after its release. This gives rise to a loophole where the creator of the remixes might produce it with the excuse that they wish to guard ageless music by giving a chance to new talent. Even if the lawful owner is discontented with the new remix, the best alternative would be to file a legal notice and pursue a long legal battle against the new creator. This section in its essence attenuates a sixty-year-old law of protection that the owner was entitled to.

Now as we comprehend, there is a vital desire to alter likely precautionary measures of the Copyright Act to safeguard the immunity of the author. Most importantly, the period of remixing a song subsequent to the nod of the owner, the termination of two years from the period of the release of the primary track should be continued to four to six years.
Moreover, there shall be a reserved price for the sum of royalty that has to be funded by the author, regardless of the pieces of copies persuaded off. In addition, there is a requirement to institute a rightful structure of licensing to make sure that the general society has permission to use musical work in social media and Television so that the copyright possessor is not treated unfavourably.

The suggestive amendments provided an individualistic advantage to the respective owners of musical works and make sure that they are not unjustifiably utilized by music corporations. It also acknowledged the significance of the new specialized era and provides resolutions like rightful arrangement of licensing, a reserved price for royalty, etc.

Author(s) Name: Aashi Mehrotra (Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida)

References:

[1] PM Dhar, ‘Copyright Law and Justice in India’ [1986] 28 JILI 497

[2] The Copyright Act 1957, s.14(e)

[3] The Copyright Act 1957, s.51

[4] The Copyright Act 1957, s.52(1) (j)

[5] The Copyright Act,1957

[6] The Copyright Act,1957, s. 18

[7] The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012

[8] Ibid 4