Bhappi’s take on remix rap
COMPOSER Bappi Lahiri may have just won a suit against American hip-hop group, Truth Hurts for lifting his tune Kaltyon ka Chaman, but not everybody in the Indian film industry is jubilant. This follows the threat of the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) to "slaughter all those who slaughter our music."
The target is clearly remixes of Hindi film songs. As Sanjay Tandon, director general of IPRS warned: "From April 11, we will initiate criminal action against those who are remixing songs without permission. Also, all permission for remixes has to be taken from IPRS from April 11, 2003."
IPRS has the blessings of veterans like playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and composer Khayyam in taking such a tough stand. The latter is particularly ballistic after his songs from Noorie and Kabhi Kabhi were re-copied: "They are indulging in daylight robbery and ruining our compositions. This must stop!"
Said Mangeshkar: "I am happy that Bappi Lahiri has won his case, but other music composers are suffering silently at the hands of the remix industry — the Indian remix industry which is mauling our songs and nobody seems to be doing anything about it."
The IPRS is clear on how it plans to take the offenders to task. "We have taken the stand that all remixes are illegal," said Tandon. "People within the film industry are conveniently misinterpreting the provisions of Section 52 (I) (j) of the Indian Copyrights Act to suit their own interests."
He however, added that his intention is not to stop cover versions: "What we aim is to bring in a proper policy — a policy where creators and producers of original compositions will have to give permission to those who remix or re-record them. If necessary, the Copyright Act will have to be amended accordingly."
The irony about this situation is the Lahiri is himself guilty of having made a fortune out of plagiarising and re-running compositions as his own. But that was all in the past. Today he is a spent force and stands to lose nothing by sticking his neck out.