Film producers have withdrawn their January 6 strike against the proposed amendments in the Copyright Act that mandates producers sharing 50 percent of music royalties with lyricists and composers. They made the statement after the government assured them that no decision would be taken to jeopardise the interests of the Indian film industry.

Ramesh Sippy, Mukesh Bhatt, T. P. Agarwal

Various sections of the industry threatened a day-long strike Jan 6 to express their disagreement with the proposed Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010.  Addressing a press conference on 29th December, Film and Television Producers Guild of India president Ramesh Sippy, vice-president Mukesh Bhatt and Film Federation of India (FFI) president T. P. Agarwal said that it was the government’s “positive approach” that had encouraged fair negotiations. “The government has asked us to sit across the table and speak to the lyricists and the composers and come to a solution which is fair and practical and without jeopardising the interests of both the parties,” producer Mukesh Bhatt told reporters. “The government said they will not implement anything without listening to both parties,” he added.

Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy said they don’t have anything against lyricist Javed Akhtar, who is fighting for changes in the law from the lyricists and composers’ side.”I’m sure if Javed Saab was fighting for something, it must be for something unjust, but the government escalated the matter without consulting us, and our voice remained unheard.”

Agarwal clarified they never asked anyone to ban the lyricist,”We have never banned Javed Saab, we had simply advised producers to not sign him till this matter is not resolved. But he is one of us, and has always been, so we will of course discuss the situation with him,” he said. He added, “Lyricists and composers are already given royalty, but it is impossible to give them music rights. Producers are not against sharing royalty but they cannot make anyone partners in their property.”

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