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Madras HC admits Ilayaraja's plea in copyright case of his musical work

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Madras HC admits Ilayarajas plea in copyright case of his musical work
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Madras: The Madras High Court on Monday admitted music composer Ilayaraja's appeal to stay the operation of a single judge's order that restricted him from claiming copyright over his entire musical work and sound recordings related to 30 feature films produced during the 1980s.

As per a PTI report, the division bench comprising Justices M Duraiswamy and T V Tamil Selvi, which admitted the application, ordered notice to the defendants — Indian Record Manufacturing Company Limited (INRECO) in Chennai, Agi Music Sdn Bhd in Malaysia and Unisys Info Solutions Private Limited in Haryana — returnable in two weeks

Earlier, the Indian Record Production Company (INRECO) has sought a ban on Ilayaraja's use of music for these films, as he composed and composed music for 20 Tamil films released in 1978-80, 5 Telugu, 3 Kannada and 2 Malayalam, for a total of 30 music compositions. The case was pending in the Chennai High Court.

A separate judge heard the case and in February 2020, banned Ilayaraja and two other music companies from using the music for the 30 films, claiming that the music belonged to an Indian record company.

Ilayaraja in his appeal contended that based on the single bench's order, INRECO is making attempts for commercial exploitation of the copyrights over the musical works.

He added that he would be subjected to huge loss and hardship unless an interim stay of the operation of the order is passed.

Among other things, Ilayaraja submitted that INRECO had claimed exclusive copyright based on the agreement with the respective film producers, on the premises that the respective film producers were the owners of the musical works, whereas Ilayaraja, who was the producer and composer of the original musical work, claimed copyright over his musical work as the author and producer of the work.

Earlier the recording company had obtained an injunction against Mr Ilayaraja for 22 movies as they were published in digital media. The main contention was that in the 1980s when agreements with these recording companies were executed, there was no assignment of digital media rights.

Therefore they cannot claim those rights now. The important amendment regarding this came into force in year 2012 and those amendments were not considered in the single judge judgement. Digital media rights were recognised in India only from 1996. The agreements which were prior to 1996 cannot claim those rights for them is the important contention of Mr Ilayaraja.

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