Movies

Film industry defers January strike on Copyright Amendments

MUMBAI: Following an assurance that the Union Government was prepared to consider its demands on the Copyright amendments, the film industry has postponed the proposed all-India two-day strike scheduled from 6 January.


The strike call was to protest against the proposed amendment to the Copyright Act that allows lyricists, music composers and writers to seek royalty for their services from film producers. 


Addressing a press meet here, filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt said, "Yesterday, we had a meeting with Ahmed Patel, secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal. After the discussion we had with them, they issued a positive statement saying ‘the government is committed to principles and not personalities‘."


"This changed our thought that the government was biased. For the first time in several years, we saw that the government was speaking positively. We are now hopeful that we would soon reach a consensus with lyricists, music composers and writers."


Bhatt added that on 22 December, the South Film Industry met Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi at Chennai and apprised him of the serious situation the film industry was in. "It is possible that because of that meeting, the government‘s stance has turned positive. We will now sit down with the concerned people and work out things in such a way that we both co-exist and survive," Bhatt averred.


Film Federation of India president TP Aggarwal added, "We were not asking for any subsidy nor were we asking for any other kind of favour. We were only seeking our legitimate right. The government has opened the door for negotiations. Seeing the positive note from the government‘s side, we have decided to postpone our bandh."


"We are ready to share the royalties with the concerned parties but we can not make them our partners," he said.


"Since last year, we had an inkling that the government would come out with a law that may rob us of our legitimate right. Finding no solution in the already tense atmosphere, we were, till yesterday, firm on going on strike, but yesterday’s meeting gave us a clear indication that the issue between the producers on he one hand and the lyricists, music composers and writers on the other would soon be resolved," added The Film and Television Producers Guild president Ramesh Sippy.


Asked why the producers were not willing to give a little more to lyricists, music composers and writers from their profits, Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association member Ashok Pandit said, "They only talk about sharing the profits, why are they not talking on sharing our losses. Look, around 95 per cent of our films are flopping."


The film industry is opposed to the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill 2010 that mandates producers to share 50 per cent music royalty with lyricists and composers, film industry. According to senior filmmaker L Suresh, the proposal would affect the selling of films to distributors and exhibitors.



A day-long strike along with a dharna in Delhi with no shows was proposed against what is termed as the `draconian` law which will affect the industry.


Repeated representations had been made to the government but with no avail, he said.


The producers said that the government was working at the ‘behest of some vested interests‘ in this matter.


A Parliamentary Standing committee in its recommendations on the bill, tabled in Parliament last month, has said that producers should give authors, lyricists and composers 50 per cent royalty for a film.

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