Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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#1 Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Post by divine »

Dear Members,
This email by no means is to create a division among carnatic music rasikas on the lines of languages or religion or locations or caste. Music is universal and is open for anyone to enjoy.

Having said that, in a fast changing technological world, very easily the roots of any tradition could be lost and forgotten. Similar to having a GI (Geographic Indicator) tag for Tirupati Laddoo, Salem Mango, Kanchipuram Pattu - does anyone feel Carnatic music (atleast the 72 melakarta raga and famous Keerthanas) need to be protected with Intellectual Property Rights of South Indians?

I recently observed that in one non-Hindu religious channel, Rara Venu Gopa Bala was modified in the same Bilahari raga to praise another diety. Surely, there is no harm in that. But in due course of time, the original lyrics or composers should not loose out on the credit, just because they are no more.

Similar to neem and turmeric patented by USA first, only for Indians to realize it later and fight a long, legal battle to get it back, I think we should not let Carnatic Music also to slip into the hands of foreigners.

Recently, Adi Sankara Chair was created by one USA based university that sought the complete copyright of Advaita scriptures written in Sanskrit. Their intent was to take our own knowledge, repackage into easy-to-consume formats and sell it higher rates back to our own scholars.

We need not seek royalty from anyone who composes songs using the Melakarta ragas or anyone who sings any of the Thyagarajar or Dikshitar Keertana but we should surely protect the greatness of our legacy for posterity.

Associations such as Madras Music Academy can perhaps initiate a brainstorming session with sabhas in Chennai to start with and expand it to all the 5 south Indian states. Because it is MMA that awards the prestigious Sangeetha Kalanidhi kind of awards, which are considered to be highly respectable awards across these states, that I suggest this organization as a torchbearer.

By no means any single state in South can claim GI for the whole of Carnatic music. There are a lot of Telugu keertanai sung by Thyagaraja who was born in Tamilnadu.

Again, by no means this mailer is a suggestion to patent or set a tradesecret or trademark or copyright kind of Intellectual Property Right but just Geographic Indicator (GI) tag only. I apologize if in case I have opened the pandora's box or hurt anyone's emotions by raking up such a thought.

Thanks & Regards,

bhakthim dehi
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#2 Re: Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Post by bhakthim dehi »

Valuable suggestion and it is much needed at this point of time. But, I don't think anyone will be interested in taking it forward.
Instead, expect replies from the forumites like music is for all and modifying the tunes will indeed increase the popularity of our music.

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#3 Re: Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Post by Sachi_R »

I don't understand the process and decision making authorities in respect of awarding a GI tag for Carnatic music to say The Madras Music Academy.
Please elaborate.
Wonder if the following have GI tags:
Idli. Dosa. Sambhar. Rasam. Upma. Darshini restaurant. Vada. Malli poo. Etc.

There are always people ready to usurp the control and marketing rights of things. I think recording companies are giving hell to Carnatic music artistes and livecasters like Parivadini.

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#4 Re: Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Post by SrinathK »

Unfortunately it is not possible to put a copyright on such old songs. However the danger that someone will publish a composition with different lyrics in the tune of old Carnatic songs, and then try to ban us from singing the originals are very likely.

The bigger risk (which has actually happened), is that the difference between composer and producer is not clear and as a result Thyagaraja krithis get taken down on Youtube because Sa Re Ga Ma made an album out of it and supposedly sarasa sAma dAna becomes their copyrighted work.

This danger exists even in the case of artistes who died over 70 years ago and whose work should be public by now, but it is not because a label just made a remastered album out of it.

It is therefore imperative for modern composers to legalize their compositions. Awareness also must be raised over historical compositions. Audio archiving has never been more important.

Never wait for someone else to do something about it. Maybe you could put an article in the newspaper about this (which was done when false positive copyright claims over krithis was happening).

Nick H
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#5 Re: Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Post by Nick H »

It can't be treated like cheese, wine... or ladoo!

I appreciate the intent, but the suggestion is not practical, and certainly not enforceable.

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#6 Re: Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Post by SrinathK »

I heard that Dr. M Balamuralikrishna had actually done this intellectual property work for his own compositions. I vaguely remember reading about it here very recently in fact.

I do not know what today's composer musicians are doing. But if you think about the mess that can be created, it's actually quite important for an artiste or an instrument maker to copyright / patent his work these days.
Last edited by SrinathK on 07 Aug 2018, 15:30, edited 1 time in total.

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#7 Re: Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Post by pattamaa »

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#8 Re: Regarding IPR of Carnatic Music

Post by SrinathK »

Yeah, this. And that's why the license type and terms need to be very clear as well. In Western classical music, there have been cases where certain works were commissioned for certain musicians and there was a period of time (a few years typically) where those musicians had 'performance rights' to be the exclusive performer of those works.

In Indian classical, since singing someone else's compositions has always been the norm, the correct terms of copyrighting are all the more important. ... ganisation ... s_in_India
"...Section 13 of The Copyright Act, 1957 states that a copyright is allowed to exist in the following classes of works - (a) original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; (b) cinematograph films; and (c) sound recordings.[6]

Section 2(d) of the Act defines the meaning of “author” of the work. According to section 2(d) (ii), the composer shall be the “author” of a musical work.[7] However, sections 2(d)(v) and 2(d)(vi) were added to the Act by virtue of the 1994 amendment, according to which an author shall also be producer of the cinematograph film or sound recording; or “the person who causes the work to be created” when the literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is computer-generated.[8]

Section 17 deems the author of a work to be the “first owner” of the underlying copyright, subject to certain exceptions. The crux of these exceptions is that whenever an author creates a work during the course of employment of another, the employer (and not the author) will own the copyright unless there is a contract to the contrary.[9] Section 14 of the Act accords certain rights in respect of owners of copyrighted works – the right of public performance (or communication to the public) being one of them. Section 14(a)(iii) allows the a literary, dramatic or musical work to be performed in public, or communicated to the public.[10] Section 14(c)(ii) confers a similar right of communication to the public for artistic works, while sections 14(d)(iii) and 14(e)(iii) confer this right on cinematograph films and sound recordings respectively.[11]

A recorded song would typically have 3 copyrights. The ‘musical work’ is the musical melody, harmony and rhythm, and the ‘literary work’ is the accompanying lyrics. The composer of the musical work is deemed to be the ‘author’ of the musical work and the person penning the lyrics in deemed to be the ‘author’ of the literary work. The third ‘work’ is the ‘sound recording’ which is created when the musical work and the literary work are recorded onto a fixed medium. The producer responsible for the recording is deemed to be the ‘author’ of the sound recording. Each of these works would be allowed their own separate set of rights (the right of public performance being one of them) under the Copyright Act, regardless of one work being created for another by virtue of an agreement. Therefore, even when a producer has engaged an artist to write a song, the producer’s copyright only extends to the song itself (referred to as a ‘synchronisation right’), and not the underlying lyrics, harmony, melody and rhythm – the rights for which would still vest with the original authors.

Section 13(4) of the Copyright Act recognizes the fact that a ‘sound-recording’ incorporated in a cinematograph film can continue to have an individual copyright, separate and distinct from the copyright in the cinematograph film.[12] Similarly, this provision also recognizes that a musical work and literary work incorporated in a ‘sound-recording’ can have individual copyrights that are distinct from the copyright in the sound recording. Therefore, the law recognizes each category of works as a separate property right that is protected by itself despite being incorporated into another work. Thus, the composer of a musical work or the author of a literary work can continue to maintain copyright in their works despite licensing the same to the producer for the creation of a ‘sound-recording’. The same stands true for a ‘sound recording’ that is incorporated into a cinematograph film.

However, the Supreme Court has ignored the ambit of section 13(4) in the past, specifically with regard to public performance. In Indian Performing Rights Society v Eastern Indian Motion Pictures Association & Ors.,[13] it was held that once the author of a lyric or a musical work parts with his portion of his copyright by authorizing a film producer to incorporate it in a cinematographic film, the producer acquires the exclusive right of performing the work in public, without having to secure any further permission of the author of the musical work or lyric. The Court ignored the idea contained in section 13(4), that authors of musical works retain an independent right of public performance even after licensing the same for incorporation in a film. The Court merely relied on the text of section 17, holding that in the absence of a contract to the contrary, the film producers would be exclusive owners of the copyrighted works which were incorporated into their films.[14]

The Legislature sought to negate the effect of the Court’s judgement by enacting the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012. As a result of this amendment, the authors would own their rights in the music and lyrics even if they were created for the purpose of a cinematograph film, regardless of anything mentioned in section 17.[15] Once the synchronisation rights in the music have been licensed to the producers of the cinematograph film, the authors continue to own the remaining rights such as the public performance rights in the music and lyrics. These remaining rights too could be licensed away by the authors but the authors would be entitled to certain minimum royalties.

The 2012 Amendment Act was repealed in January 2018 by the Repealing and Amending (Second) Act, 2017.[16]..."
OP, I'd advise changing the title if possible to "Regarding Intellectual Property Rights and Management in Carnatic Music."

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