"It’s a landmark judgement. The music industry has been in turmoil recently but with the Calcutta High Court and Bombay High Court recognising Saregama as the complete owner of the legal rights of certain specific films, our stand has been vindicated. And it’s business as usual," exults Apurv Nagpal, managing director, Saregama.
Nagpal was reacting to last Friday’s judgement when the Divison Bench of the Calcutta High Court ruled that the music company owns the copyright to Apni toh jaise taise… and so had every right to grant license for the use of the song in Sajid Nadidwala’s Housefull.
The Bombay High Court has also pronounced a similar ruling with respect to the song I am a disco dancer… that has been used in two films, the recently-released Anjaana Anjaani, again produced by Nadiadwala, and Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal 3 that opens this Diwali.
The legal heirs of Prakash Mehra and Kalyanji-Anandji, the producer and composers of Lawaris (1981), in which Apni toh jaise taise… was first used, and B Subhash, the producer of Disco Dancer (1983), are obviously upset. They had moved court against Saregama and appealed for an ad-interim injunction to prevent the release of Housefull and Anjaana Anjaani. B Subhash refuses to accept the ruling, arguing that “the judge has still to look at it in a broader way”. And Punit, Prakash Mehra’s son, promises to take the case to the Supreme Court.
Nagpal isn’t perturbed: “They are welcome to exercise their constitutional rights but both the High Courts are in agreement that the rights belong to us. And we’re already in touch with three major filmmakers for the licensing rights of other songs from earlier hits. This should pave the way for more such deals involving other music companies in the future.” Nagpal adds that their sub-licensing deal for TV involving yesteryear charttoppers is coming to an end. He says, “In the future, the company will prefer to be contacted directly for a song.”
Bhushan Kumar, chairman, T-Series, is equally upbeat considering that his music company has released the new versions of the songs. “We have the sync rights to all our films, so no producer or composer can object to us licensing them out,” he informs. “Saregama only had the recording and performing rights which is why this problem cropped up. But now that it’s been proved that as per the Copyright Act, Saregama is the sole owner it will make our job easier. We can approach companies directly for a song without having to also negotiate with a second and third party.”