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Shubha Mudgal’s FIR sees Mumbai ED summon honchos of Bollywood music companies

Probe into what has happened to money meant to be paid to artistes as royalty; heads of Yash Raj Films, Sony Music, Universal Music summoned

mumbai Updated: Nov 07, 2017 16:55 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
Hindustani classical singer Shubha Mudgal had filed an FIR with the Delhi police earlier this year.(HT File)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned the heads of top Bollywood music companies for allegedly failing to pay royalty to lyricists and composers. The summons were issued by the Mumbai unit of the agency after a first information report (FIR) was filed earlier this year on the basis of a complaint filed by popular Hindustani classical singer Shubha Mudgal with the Delhi police.

Those summoned are Aditya Chopra of Yash Raj Films (YRF); Shridhar Subramaniam, president, India and Middle East, Sony Music Entertainment; and D Sanyal of Universal Music Group. The ED had previously summoned Bhushan Kumar, chairman and MD, T-Series; and Vikram Mehra, managing director, Saregama Music in the case. The agency has recorded Kumar and Mehra’s statements.

“Their [Chopra, Subramaniam and Sanyal] statements will be recorded too,” said an ED official, who did not wish to be named. “The investigations are on to check where the money has gone.”

HT contacted YRF, Sony Music and Universal Music, but they refused to comment.

Vinod Bhanushali, president of marketing and publicity department, T-Series, said, “As law-abiding citizens, whatever documents are required, we have submitted to the agency. We have not collected any royalties of composers and lyricists. We have collected royalties of our sound recordings, which are legally purchased from producers.”

The central agency had on last Friday conducted searches at eight premises of the music companies – five in Mumbai, two in Delhi and one location in Kolkata.

The case, which has been registered against the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), among others, is currently being investigated by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi police.

According to ED officials, IPRS and PPL had not been making royalty payments to artistes and composers of songs. As per policy, music companies have to share royalties with artistes and composers of songs if they are played as caller tunes or used for other commercial purposes.

The FIR states that despite amendment in Sections 18 and 19 of the Copyright Act, artistes have not received “equal share” of royalty collected by music companies from various commercial exploitations of creative work of aggrieved persons.

It was also alleged by the complainant that the music companies, in connivance with the directors of PPL and IPRS, fraudulently and illegally collected royalty and failed to share the same with the lyricists and music composers whose creations were exploited.

“A large amount of money has been amassed by these music companies as royalties in the guise of licence fees, service charges, etc, from telecom operators, TV broadcasters, online platform operators and other digital medium by claiming to be sole and exclusive owners of the rights. They, on a continuous basis, denied the composers and lyricists their share of royalty,” states the FIR.

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 13:27 IST