The ongoing tussle between music director Ilaiyaraaja and singer SP Balu, over the copyrights of Ilaiyaraaja’s songs, has come as a big jolt to the entire Indian music industry. It all began when a lawyer, representing Ilaiyaraaja, sent a legal notice to SP Balu suggesting that he cannot sing any of Raaja’s songs without obtaining the music director’s permission.
As soon as SP Balu shared the news with his fans on Facebook, the news went viral and several singers, music directors were forced to take sides in this story. Although, legally speaking, Ilaiyaraaja is entitled to a certain percentage of revenue as royalty, since he’s one of the creators of the song, several musicians and singers have stated that he didn’t have to send a legal notice to SP Balu, whom he has known for almost 50 years now.
On the other hand, the ongoing tussle has started the debate over copyrights on music and who actually owns the rights of the song. While producers, music directors, singers and lyricists are all entitled to royalty every time someone performs or sings one of their songs, all these people allege that they aren’t given any royalty. It remains to be seen how this story unfolds in near future and whether other music directors follow Ilaiyaraaja’s route.