The Music Industry looks to the IP scene for better protection.

Business Standard reports that there have been more than 13000 cases in the last 7 years- only for music piracy- in the country. This would include cases of mobile chip piracy, performance right violations and the like. India ranked 10th in the list of countries affected by piracy and with the current boom in the mobile entertainment segment, its market would encompass over 300 million users. However, now the Indian Music Industry is geared to fight back.

Though lack of awareness has resulted in severe losses of Rs 600-800 crore to the industry every year, the artistes are now becoming smarter about their rights. Read a related report by the Telegraph which talks about how IP laws are becoming a smarter pick for law students (of course, they use the term “patent laws” while dealing with IP, but that should be overlooked). The article reflects the changing Indian scene- using the examples of Bappi Lahiri protecting his work “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai”, to artistes now demanding more patent specific contracts, rather than standard ones.

Case in point: Acccomplished singer Shubha Mudgal whose powerful voice is distinctive and extremely popular. She says that artistes need to be more aware of their own rights.

She says, people themselves need to know about what is theirs. “Barring a few celebrity musicians, artistes in India do not have professionals managing their careers. I believe that artistes today must educate themselves about IPR as no one else will help them.”

“When I receive royalties from overseas I also receive a log sheet which tells me which of my tracks were played on radio, for instance. But for domestic royalties there are no log sheets and no details, so I have no idea what I am receiving money for and I cannot challenge the calculation,” she says. Mudgal argues that even if the laws in the country on IPR may be artiste-friendly, the system for ensuring fair play doesn’t exist. What’s worse, she adds, is that none of the artists objects or protests.”

With the help of the Indian Music Industry, however, these artistes hope to stop such infringement, firstly physical, in large establishments that do not procure licenses despite a forewarning.

Next, the more complicated but necessary protection mustby the IMI through its wings Indian Phonographic Ltd (PPL) and Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) be acquired with the help of the Indian Phonograph, since this market has several avenues of possible IP infringement through “Caller Ring Back Caller Service (CRBT), Embedded tones, background music, full track downloads, mobile radio and streaming and downloading of music”.

Lastly, an internet anti-piracy team has successfully closed down approximately 500 infringing sites.

Maybe with increasing awareness, and, hopefully, the rise in popularity of IP amongst law students (with scholarships such as the Microsoft Scholarship), India artistes will have far less to worry about from potential infringers in the years to come.

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