HomeWhat's TrendingIlayaraja Vs Echo Company Over Moral Rights: Argument in HC

Ilayaraja Vs Echo Company Over Moral Rights: Argument in HC

Senior advocate Vijay Narayan, representing Echo Music Company, argued that legendary composer Ilayaraja cannot claim moral rights over 4,500 songs after receiving payment, given the absence of a personal agreement with producers regarding copyright. Echo Music Company has appealed to the High Court, asserting their right to use these songs. The final hearing took place yesterday before Chief Justice R. Mahadevan and Justice Mohammad Shafiq.

Narayan emphasised that Ilayaraja, having received compensation for his work, lacks grounds to assert moral rights over the compositions. He clarified, ‘The primary owner of the copyright is the producer who pays for the music service. Echo acquired 4,500 songs by formal agreement with the film producers, not with Ilayaraja. Royalties were paid to Ilayaraja until 1990 and then discontinued without any legal challenge.’

Narayan further stated that moral rights are only relevant if the music is altered or lyrics are changed. He mentioned Ilayaraja’s notice to the producer of ‘Manjummel Boyz,’ alleging tampering with a song from the film ‘Guna.’

Comparing Ilayaraja with AR Rahman, Narayan pointed out, ‘AR Rahman retains his copyrights, unlike Ilayaraja, who transferred his rights to producers. Without a personal agreement from 1970 to 1990, Ilayaraja cannot claim these rights now.’ The judge has adjourned the case to 19 June 2024 for further proceedings after Echo concluded its arguments.

  The dispute between Echo Music Company and Ilayaraja over the moral rights to 4,500 songs brings to light the complexities of copyright law in the music industry. Echo Music’s argument hinges on the absence of a personal agreement between Ilayaraja and the producers, as well as the fact that royalties were paid to Ilayaraja up until 1990 without any legal contention. This case underscores the importance of clear contractual agreements regarding the ownership and rights over musical works. The final decision, expected on  19 June 2024, could set a significant precedent for how moral rights are interpreted and enforced in the industry.

  Navigating the intricacies of copyright law and intellectual property can be daunting. At Vakilsearch, we offer expert legal services to ensure your rights are protected and your agreements are airtight. Whether you’re an artist seeking to retain control over your creations or a company managing multiple contracts, our experienced team can provide the guidance you need. Don’t leave your rights to chance—contact Vakilsearch today to safeguard your creative and business interests with comprehensive legal solutions.


Akash G Varadaraj