As per reports, Mr. Javed Akhtar, Chairman, The Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) has distributed royalties to the tune of INR 13 crores amongst its members.

As reported by Indian Express here, Mr. Akhtar has been quoted as saying:

This collective amount is by these companies for the last six years. Now, we have distributed this Rs 13 crore among our members. Members with less than 10 songs will get Rs 10,000. Members with more than 10 songs will get Rs 53,000 equally.”

Mr. Akhtar also mentioned IPRS is in talks with a few companies like YRF Music and T-Series, which are yet to associate with the royalty collection body and said that eventually these companies will have to join IPRS because the law says so.

There are some companies who haven’t joined us, they will soon. These are big companies and we are in talks. It is the law of the country and they will have to abide. But we don’t want to directly go to court or file case. T Series, YRF are not part of IPRS and we are talking to them. We will meet them. They are big people, good people. I don’t think there will be any bitterness,” he said.

There have been fraudulent dealings in the name of IPRS. Sometimes, they don’t pay and at times people dupe others by claiming they are from IPRS. We have to improve the royalty collection. We want to improve this system. Now royalty permission is online.

File an application with details of the programme. Permission given on net and transaction on net too. There was a struggle, music companies pitched in, we did too and the law was such that we were secure. In 2012, we negotiated till 2018. It happened with the right spirit,” Mr. Akhtar said.

According to the reports, around 2,800 IPRS members will finally get paid for their songs- termed as ‘synchronisation royalty’ by Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL). They will be paid on the behalf of music companies like Saregama, Sony Music, Tips, Universal Music, Venus and Aditya Music. Javed Akhtar further clarified that this was ‘synchronization royalty’ which means that the members will get paid for their songs used in video, ads or other films. This was not ‘mechanical royalty’ – used for radio and streaming platforms.

The reports do not seem to clarify as to whether these royalties are being paid to authors and assignees of works both or only author members. It is further not clear whether these royalties have been distributed in accordance with the existing Distribution Scheme available on the IPRS website or some other arrangement. The IPRS website mentions that “THE EXISTING DISTRIBUTION SCHEME IS BEING REVAMPED IN ASSITANCE WITH CISAC AND ONCE FINALISED WILL BE PLACED FOR APPROVAL BY MEMBERS IN THE GENERAL MEETING”.

Last year, eminent musician Shubha Mudgal filed an FIR last year against the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) alleging non-payment of royalties. It had led the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to summon the heads of top music companies like T-series, Yash Raj, Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Sa Re Ga Ma Music for allegedly failing to pay royalties to lyricists and composers amounting to crores. ED had initiated an investigation against the companies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). However, the matter was reportedly settled with necessary assurances from IPRS and a quashing petition was jointly filed by IPRS/PPL and other persons arrayed as accused in the FIR and by Shubha Mudgal before the Delhi High Court. These quashing petitions are still pending before the Court. The ED investigations seemed to have taken place prior to IPRS receiving its re-registration. Whether those investigations have now been put to rest is still not clear.

I hope to get these clarifications soon and provide an update accordingly.

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