Royalty Scam: Musicians Choose to Keep Mum Despite ED Action

Shubha Mudgal had filed an FIR against music companies for non-payment of royalties amounting to crores.

Updated
Music
3 min read
Shubha Mudgal and Chitra Singh’s complaints  led the ED to raid several music companies, including that of Aditya Chopra’s YRF. 
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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 has led The Enforcement Directorate (ED) to summon the heads of top Bollywood 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 has now initiated an investigation against the companies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Royalty Scam: Musicians Choose to Keep Mum Despite ED Action
(Photo: The Quint)
Royalty Scam: Musicians Choose to Keep Mum Despite ED Action
(Photo: The Quint)
On November 3, raids were conducted in their offices at 10-12 locations and Bhushan Kumar, the head of T-series, was grilled for nine hours.
Royalty Scam: Musicians Choose to Keep Mum Despite ED Action
(Photo: The Quint)
“I filed a complaint against IPRS, PPL and their Directors/Officers before the EOW of Delhi Police. Similar complaints were also filed by the Music Composers Association of India and Film Writers Association. Pursuant to filing of the complaint FIR  No. 167 of 2016 was registered. Consequently the matter was 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 me before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. The same is pending disposal and now listed on 20th November, 2017 for consideration.”
Shubha Mudgal, Singer/Composer

Here’s a copy of the FIR filed by Mudgal.

The FIR filed by Shubha Mudgal. 
The FIR filed by Shubha Mudgal. 
(Photo Courtesy: Sources)

As per policy, music companies have to share royalties with artistes and composers of songs if they are used for other commercial purposes.

The FIR filed by Shubha Mudgal. 
The FIR filed by Shubha Mudgal. 
(Photo Courtesy: Screenshot of the FIR)

In the FIR, it’s mentioned that despite amendment in Section 18 and 19 of Copyright Act, they have not received equal share of royalty collected by music companies.

FIR filed by Shubha Mudgal 
FIR filed by Shubha Mudgal 
(Photo Courtesy: Screenshot of the FIR)

The IPRS is also accused of appointing fake members who are neither authors nor composers. The royalties that should have been paid to the complainants have been “clandestinely and surreptitiously without the consent of complainant’s members channelised to fake members”.

The Quint got in touch with singer Shilpa Rao, who said:

“Lyricists and music composers deserve royalties which are their basic rights like everybody in the world deserves. It’s a law all over the world.”
Shilpa Rao, Singer
The  Quint also got in touch with eminent singers and composers, but they refused to talk about the issue. A composer, who chooses not to be named, said, “It’s not the right time to talk about it.”

The Quint got in touch with T-Series and this is what Vinod Bhanushali, President - Marketing, Media, Publishing and Music Acquisition, T-Series, had to say:

“As law-abiding citizens, whatever documents where required from us we have submitted to the ED team. We have not collected any royalties on behalf of composers and lyricists. We have collected royalties only for our sound recordings, which we are legally allowed to as per copyright law for the film which we have acquired music rights from producers.”
Vinod Bhanushali, President - Marketing, Media, T-Series

We also tried to reach the other music companies but the calls remained unanswered.

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