After a long 2 and a half years of structural as well as operational reform, the IPRS has been re-admitted as a CISAC member. IPRS was expelled due to certain non-harmonious practices with respect to the CISAC regulations and the overwhelming governance and control by Music publishers. Since then CISAC has been working on supporting and guiding IPRS to achieve certain required standards of corporate governance, licensing collections and distributions of royalties. Another notable factor leading to the re-admission is the recognition of IPRS as a valid collecting society by the Indian Government under the Indian Copyright Law.
The various reforms which have taken place include the election of a representative board of six authors-composers and six publishers; bringing in of distribution rules which are harmonious with those of CISAC; release of withheld author funds amounting approximately to $10.2 million and back payment of $3.7 million to authors for unpaid licensing of works and unpaid synchronization rights fees, as reported by Billboard.
The chief legal advisor of the IPRS Mr. Achille Forler, alongside Javed Akhtar has spearheaded this reform. As reported by Billboard, he has this to be a huge positive, however there is still a lot on their plate. Forler stated, “The challenge is now to bring users to take a license from the Society, especially local companies — streaming services, radios, broadcasters — who have been accustomed to paying only for the sound recordings, we have contracted the leading American consultant to help us establish the fairest broadcast tariffs. The collection of IPRS has increased from $4.7 million to over $20 million in the space of two years. We project an annual income of over $100 million within five years.”
Even CISAC, while re-admitting IPRS has spoken about the enormous potential for creators and creative industries in India. A fair remuneration for creators and a transparent system to disperse royalties is essential for incentivising creative endeavour. CISAC has a he role to play in the future growth of royalties in India.
Being a member of CISAC not only gives international recognition to the copyright society, but also levies certain operational advantages. These include:-
- Take part and vote in each General Assembly and stand for election to the Board of Directors
- Be represented on the Legal Committee and Common Information System Supervisory Board and take part in meetings of the International Creators Council and Technical Committees
- Serve on a regional committee or propose a candidate to serve or be represented on most bodies within our organisation
- Obtain, where appropriate, financial assistance from the CISAC Solidarity Fund
- Have full access to the members section of the CISAC website to view or download any document reserved for members
- Receive information and publications concerning the activities of CISAC on a regular basis while also benefitting from CISAC’s Common Information System (CIS)
Hence, the IPRS has stepped on a right path and the reformation efforts have yielded a definite success. It will be interesting to see how it capitalizes on this 2nd opportunity.
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