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English Music Copyright Law in India?

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English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby Aleks_O » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:54 pm

Hi everyone, hope all is well?

I just have a question which pertains to copyright law and what it's like in different countries, and I'm still learning as I'm going along so please forgive me if I sound like an ignoramus!

I had an Indian gentleman contact me today about recording an original "demo" in my studio, so essentially just me laying down the piano chords, in accordance to some reference tracks, while he records his lyrics and top line melody.

He then asked about a fully produced song and what my stance on the copyright share for that is?

Now, a couple of years ago a lawyer wrote for me an exclusive rights contract which basically acts as a bit of a template and states the 50/50 split in the songwriter share between me and any artist I work with. I told the Indian gentleman that usually I do 50/50 songwriter share with whoever I work with and they have to sign the agreement, however he then proceeded to tell me a bunch of things such as the law in India is "different" to England and usually the labels will just take a song off the artist / songwriter and give them money upfront etc.

Now whether that is the case or not, I don't know, but obviously the idea of basically just giving away a song and its full rights to someone for the price of studio time is absolutely insane - especially considering how big the market in India is. Moreover it does just sound like he wants me to produce the song while he potentially gets everything on the back end, and hes tried to stump me by saying the laws out there are crazy so there's no point for me even trying to bother my little head with it.

So my question is, how should I approach this? I don't really know what the laws are like in India, or if that even really matters, but to my knowledge I should at the very least have my songwriter share written, in an agreement / contract, in this country - any other thoughts?

Also, if it ends up just being a case of me laying down some generic piano chords to his lyrics, and not making a fully produced track, should I care about the songwriter share in this case?

I appreciate any responses,

Aleks
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:11 pm

I can't help with Indian copyright law (but Indian law has it roots in British law so may not be as different as he says) but it does sound like he's trying to pull a fast one. Hopefully somebody with more knowledge will be along soon.......
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:15 pm

Sounds to me as if he's trying to pull a bit of a fast one. If your normal contract is a 50-50 split then I'd be wanting a much better explanation of why he thinks that's not going to work. Even if the copyright laws are different (likely) the laws governing the split of those royalties are unlikely to be so different that a contractually agreed split can't be arranged.

As to whether it's worth it, if it's just banging out a few chords, well... time vs reward is something only you can judge but if he's likely to be shifting a lot of units he'll presumably have a track record* you can check on't web.

* double pun very much intended. :)
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby Wonks » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:48 pm

blinddrew wrote:As to whether it's worth it, if it's just banging out a few chords, well... time vs reward is something only you can judge but if he's likely to be shifting a lot of units he'll presumably have a track record* you can check on't web.

Or possibly a criminal one. ;)
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby Wonks » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:54 pm

Do be aware that there are well know scam attempts from overseas 'artists' who make enquiries about booking studio time, then you get the vast excess amount (dodgy) cheque and you then have to give them 90% of it back, but by then you've probably been cleaned out (or at least partially). This may be nothing like that, but be very cautious.
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby Aleks_O » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:12 pm

Thanks for the suggestions so far,

I'm thinking I'll probably just tell him I only do 50/50 on the songwriter share for a fully produced song for the rate that I charge for studio time, unless he wants to give me a few grand and then I can waiver it down to 80/20 :lol: .

Still mulling over whether it's worth getting him to sign something even if I just lay down some keys though? At the end of the day you don't know who knows who and what, and I think I would feel deep regret if something I had my hand in blew up and I didn't see a penny on the back end.

Keep the suggestions coming though if anyone knows any better!

Thanks,

Aleks
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:32 pm

If you are just laying down some keys why not just charge him a decent session fee on top of the studio time? That was how it used to be done back in the day.

I guess it depends on exactly what your involvement in the creative process is, is it reasonable to expect a songwriting credit/points for playing a chord sequence he has written, even if he gives you some freedom to interpret? OTOH if you are genuinely co-writing then points are what you need (but you then gamble on making nothing if the track flops).
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:41 pm

Yep, I wouldn't worry too much about missing out on what could be - that way madness lies.
Make sure you're fairly compensated for the work you do and let karma do the rest. :)
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby CS70 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:58 pm

Aleks_O wrote:Hi everyone, hope all is well?

I just have a question which pertains to copyright law and what it's like in different countries, and I'm still learning as I'm going along so please forgive me if I sound like an ignoramus!

I had an Indian gentleman contact me today about recording an original "demo" in my studio, so essentially just me laying down the piano chords, in accordance to some reference tracks, while he records his lyrics and top line melody.

He then asked about a fully produced song and what my stance on the copyright share for that is?

Just to clarify: did he want to hire you for the technical production (recording, playing some instrument), or as a co-writer? It may simply be thinking of you as "session guy" to take care of the technicalities (both recording and playing his musical ideas) rather than a co-author.
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:16 pm

WRT a fully produced song/track, surely that is a mechanical copyright issue i.e. on the recording not the composition, the two are separate (in the Europe and US at least). If it's a demo the presumably he plans to re-record at some time and any points you have on your production won't apply to the new recording.
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby Guest » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:02 pm

In India the composer invariably had to assign their rights to the producer or the producer would not work not work with them. The law has changed recently and now the the writer cannot give, or transfer these royalties - any contract contrary to that is void.

I am not a lawyer and accept no liability.
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Re: English Music Copyright Law in India?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:34 pm

Ah, good knowledge Still Vibrations. :thumbup:
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