The artistic industry is a significant contributor to culture and the economy in
India and around the world. However, artists often face numerous challenges when
it comes to collecting and distributing royalties for their artistic works.
These challenges include piracy, competing collective management organizations,
lack of awareness among artists, and changing technology.
This article aims to
explore the challenges faced by artists in India and internationally regarding
the royalties of their artistic works and propose solutions to address them.
Through improved transparency, strengthened laws and regulations, collaboration
between collective management organizations, education and awareness among
artists, and improved technology, we can create a more equitable and fair system
for artists to receive their rightful share of royalties. It is crucial to
support the growth of the artistic sector and ensure that artists are adequately
compensated for their contributions.
The artistic industry in India and around the world has been a significant
contributor to the economy and culture. Artists work hard to create their art,
and royalties from their works are an essential source of income for them.
However, artists face several challenges when it comes to collecting and
distributing their royalties.
These challenges range from piracy to complex
distribution systems, lack of awareness, and technological advancements. This
article aims to explore the challenges faced by artists in India and
internationally regarding the royalties of their artistic works and propose
solutions to address them.
Background And Explanations:
Artistic works, including music, literature, films, and paintings, have been an
essential part of Indian culture for centuries. These works of art are not only
a means of entertainment but also a source of income for the artists who create
them. The royalties of artistic works in India are governed by the Copyright
Act, 1957, which lays down the legal framework for the protection of copyright
in India. This article will study the royalties of artistic works in India and
the challenges faced by artists in obtaining fair compensation for their
Royalties refer to the income generated by the use of copyrighted works. In
India, the Copyright Act grants exclusive rights to the creators of artistic
works to reproduce, distribute, and perform their works. The Act also provides
for the collection of royalties by the creators for the use of their works by
others. Royalties are generally collected by collective management organizations
(CMOs), which act as intermediaries between the creators and the users of their
There are several CMOs in India, such as the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS),
the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), and the Screenwriters Association (SWA),
which are responsible for collecting and distributing royalties to their
members. These organizations have a mandate to collect royalties from various
sources, including music streaming platforms, radio stations, television
channels, and film production houses.
The royalty rates for artistic works in India vary depending on the type of
work, its popularity, and the medium of distribution. For instance, the royalty
rate for a song played on the radio or television is different from the rate for
a song streamed on a digital platform. The rates also differ for different types
of works, such as music, literature, and films. The Copyright Act specifies the
minimum rates for different categories of works, and the CMOs are free to set
higher rates if they deem fit.
Challenges, Issues And Solutions:
One of the major challenges is the lack of transparency in the process. Many
artists have complained that they do not receive their fair share of royalties
due to opaque accounting practices by the CMOs. The CMOs, on the other hand,
have argued that they face difficulties in tracking the usage of works,
especially in the digital space, which makes it challenging to collect and
distribute royalties accurately.
Another challenge faced by artists is the slow pace of the legal system in
addressing royalty disputes. Many artists have had to wait for years to receive
their rightful share of royalties, and some have even had to resort to legal
action to obtain their dues. The complex nature of copyright laws and the slow
pace of the legal system have also made it challenging for artists to assert
Apart from the challenges mentioned above, there are several other challenges
that artists in India and the international context face when it comes to the
royalties of their artistic works as mentioned below:
Piracy is a significant challenge in both the Indian and international
context. The unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works
have a severe impact on the income of artists, as they do not receive any
royalties for these illegal copies. Piracy has become easier with the advent
of digital technology, making it challenging for artists and CMOs to track
and prevent piracy.
- Lack of global uniformity:
In the international context, there is a lack of uniformity in the laws and
regulations governing royalties. This can create confusion for artists and CMOs who work across multiple countries. The lack of
global uniformity can also result in discrepancies in the royalty rates offered
to artists in different countries.
- Competing CMOs:
In India, there are multiple CMOs that operate in the same
space. This can create confusion for users and make it challenging for artists
to ensure that they are receiving their fair share of royalties. The existence
of multiple CMOs can also lead to disputes between them regarding the
distribution of royalties.
- Lack of awareness:
Many artists in India and the international context are not aware of their
rights and the process of collecting royalties. This can lead to artists
being exploited or not receiving their fair share of royalties. There is a
need for greater awareness and education among artists to ensure that they
understand their rights and how to collect their royalties.
- Changing technology:
Technology is constantly evolving, and new platforms for the distribution of
artistic works are emerging. This can make it challenging for CMOs to keep up with the changing landscape and ensure that artists are
receiving their fair share of royalties. There is a need for CMOs to adapt to
these changes and develop new mechanisms for tracking and collecting royalties.
Although, there are several possible solutions to the challenges faced by
artists in India and the international context when it comes to the royalties of
their artistic works.
Here are a few plausible solutions:
- Improved transparency: One of the primary solutions to address the
challenges related to royalties is to improve transparency in the royalty
collection and distribution process. This can be achieved by adopting open
accounting practices, making the distribution process more transparent, and
creating mechanisms for artists to track their royalties.
- Strengthening laws and regulations: There is a need to strengthen
the copyright laws and regulations in India and other countries to ensure
that artists are adequately protected. This can include increasing the
penalties for piracy and improving the legal processes for addressing
- Collaboration between CMOs: The existence of multiple CMOs can create
confusion and disputes regarding the distribution of royalties. Collaboration
between CMOs can help to streamline the royalty collection and distribution
process, ensuring that artists receive their fair share of royalties.
- Education and awareness: There is a need to educate artists about
their rights and the process of collecting royalties. This can be achieved
through workshops, seminars, and other outreach programs that aim to
increase awareness among artists.
- Improved technology: Technology is a crucial factor in the
royalty collection and distribution process. The development of new
technology, such as blockchain,
can help to improve transparency, track usage, and streamline the royalty
- International collaboration: In the international context, there
is a need for greater collaboration between countries to ensure that artists
receive their fair share of royalties. This can include the development of
international agreements and treaties that standardize royalty rates and
improve the legal processes for addressing royalty disputes
- IPRS v. Sanjay Dalia (2008): The case that addressed the issue
of whether the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) had the right to
collect royalties from hotels and other establishments that played
copyrighted music. The court ruled that IPRS had the right to collect
royalties for public performances of copyrighted music and that the
establishments had to obtain a license from IPRS to do so.
- Super Cassettes Industries Ltd. v. Myspace Inc. & Anr. (2011): In this
case, the court addressed the issue of whether social networking sites could be
held liable for copyright infringement for hosting user-generated content that
contained copyrighted material. The court held that social networking sites like Myspace were not liable for hosting such content as long as they had no
knowledge of the infringing activity.
- Entertainment Network (India) Ltd. v. Super Cassette Industries
Ltd. & Ors. (2008): This case addressed the issue of whether radio
stations had to pay royalties for playing copyrighted music. The court ruled
that radio stations had to obtain a license from the IPRS to play copyrighted music and pay royalties
- Gramophone Company of India Ltd. v. Birendra Bahadur Pandey (1984):
case dealt with the issue of whether the transfer of rights in a copyrighted
work included the right to collect royalties. The court held that the transfer
of rights did not include the right to collect royalties, which remained with
the original owner of the copyright.
- Lahari Recording Company v. Saavn Media Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. (2019): In this
case, Lahari Recording Company, a music label, filed a lawsuit against Saavn
Media, a music streaming service, alleging copyright infringement and seeking
royalties for the use of its copyrighted music. The court ruled in favor of
Lahari Recording Company, stating that Saavn Media had to obtain a license from
the copyright owner to use their copyrighted music and pay royalties for it
- Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd. v. Entertainment Network
(India) Ltd. & Ors. (2019): This case addressed the issue of whether
radio stations were required to pay royalties for the broadcast of
copyrighted music. The court ruled that radio stations had to obtain a
license from the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) to play copyrighted music and pay royalties for it. The
court also clarified that the copyright owner had the exclusive right to collect
royalties for the use of their copyrighted work.
In conclusion, royalties are an essential means of income for artists in India,
and the Copyright Act provides a legal framework for the protection of their
rights. However, the collection and distribution of royalties are not without
challenges, including lack of transparency, difficulties in tracking usage, and
slow legal processes.
To address these challenges, there is a need for greater transparency in the
royalty collection and distribution process, better tracking mechanisms, and
more efficient legal processes. Only then can artists in India be assured of
receiving their rightful share of royalties for their creations. Also, royalties
are the backbone of the artistic industry and are vital to support artists and
encourage them to continue creating.
The challenges faced by artists in India and the international context regarding
the collection and distribution of royalties are complex, and addressing them
requires a multi-faceted approach. The solutions proposed, including improved
transparency, strengthened laws and regulations, collaboration between CMOs,
education and awareness among artists, and improved technology, can help ensure
that artists receive their fair share of royalties.
It is crucial to recognize that the artistic industry plays a significant role
in our society and culture, and artists deserve to be compensated fairly for
their contributions. By addressing the challenges related to royalties, we can
support the growth and sustainability of the artistic sector, promoting
creativity and innovation in our communities.
Therefore, it is essential for all stakeholders, including artists, CMOs,
governments, and other relevant bodies, to work together to create a fair and
equitable system that supports the livelihood of artists and the growth of the
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