Echo Recording appeals against Ilaiyaraaja’s ‘special moral right’ over compositions

Mar24,2024


Film composer Ilaiyaraaja.  file

Film composer Ilaiyaraaja. file | Photo courtesy: K. fate light

Popular music label Echo Recording Company Pvt Ltd has filed an appeal before a division bench of the Madras High Court challenging the 2019 order of a single judge, which had said that musician R. Ilaiyaraaja has “exclusive moral rights” on over 4,500 songs composed by him. In his film career spanning over four decades, he did more than 1,000 films.

Justice R. Subramaniam and Justice R. Sakthivel will hear the original party appeal filed by the recording company against the June 4, 2019 order of Justice Anita Sumanth on Monday, March 25, 2024. The appeal was limited to a portion of the decree which recognized the composer's moral rights in respect of his compositions, pursuant to Section 57 of the Copyright Act.

The decree was passed in 2014 in a civil suit filed by the musician against a group of music labels including Malaysia-based AG Music, Chennai-based Echo Recordings, Andhra Pradesh-based Unisys Info Solutions and Mumbai-based Giri Trading Company. Then, he sought to stop music labels from monetizing the songs composed by him without his permission.

Disposing of the suit in 2019, Justice Sumanth had said, Section 57 of the Copyright Act, 1957 protects the right of a composer to claim rights over his compositions, even if they are assigned to others in whole or in part. Let it be given. This gives him the right to claim injunction or damages in respect of any mutilation, mutilation, modification or other actions if they were harmful to his honor or reputation.

Pointing out that the musician has reserved his right to initiate such proceedings against the music labels for damages as well as other monetary relief if they are involved in distortion, mutilation, etc. of his work, the judge said, his Has the right to do so. Whenever he thinks appropriate.

In the same judgment, the judge had also held that Echo Recordings also had the right to exploit the rights on the sound recordings received from various film producers for whom Mr. Ilaiyaraaja had composed the songs, and was entitled to exploit the . The same “exclusively and strictly in the same form and manner as contained only in the subject cinematograph films.”

As far as Mr. Ilaiyaraaja's exclusive moral right over his compositions is concerned, he wrote: “This gives him the right to exploit such musical works in any manner he may deem fit except in the form of connected sound recordings which are an integral part.” That part of cinematic films for which the copyright is held by the respective producers of the films.

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