In a major relief to radio stations across the country, the government is set to drop a controversial provision from a bill to amend the five-decade-old Copyrights Law, which had proposed payment of royalty to musicians, writers and singers.
The union cabinet on Thursday is likely to consider a proposal of the human resources development ministry to drop this clause from the Copyrights (Amendments) Bill, which is pending in Rajya Sabha.
The ministry had earlier proposed to make it mandatory for radio broadcasters to get a licence from the Copyright Board by paying an advance royalty to the authors and creators fixed by the Board. The move, which would have benefited artists and writers, was strongly opposed by FM radio stations, which demanded a similar mandatory licence for TV channels too."The section concerned has been deleted from the bill to remove the misgivings of radio broadcasters and rights owners on the issue. While radio players wanted this licence to be extended to TV, the artists and writers were opposed to it," said a government official.
Led by noted lyricist Javed Akhtar, the artistes argued that licensing cannot be extended to TV channels because they have many music-based programmes, unlike FM stations, which only play songs. Also, the advertisement revenue of the two mediums cannot be compared, they added.
The dispute on this section of the bill, which mentions the "statutory licensing for broadcasting of literary and musical works and sound recording", had created an uproar during the winter session of Parliament.
MPs from opposition parties objected to the controversial provision, saying it was confined only to radio — leaving out television and new media broadcasters.
They said the government had introduced an amendment that was neither in line with the bill discussed by the parliamentary standing committee nor recommended by it.