The stridency in Zee Music's stance is the result of thoughtful
acquisitions of some hot Bollywood properties by Zee Network. These
include Munnabhai MBBS (very hummable music and songs),
Pinjar, Rudraaksh and one of Feroz Khan's hit productions, Qurbani,
which had some great songs.
Some other films acquired by Zee Network, which gives Zee Music
exclusive rights to air full film songs in most cases (unlike other
music channels who would be airing promotional short duration clips)
include Rituparno Ghosh's just-released Raincoat, Aitraaz, Chalbaaz,
Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Sath Sath Hai, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun and
most Manmohan Desai directed Amitabh Bachchan films.
"The Network's film acquisition has landed Zee Music song
rights of as much as 60 per cent of the total Hindi film music available,
which has made us think that such exclusive content should be exploited
more forcefully," Ranga explained the reason behind the proposal
on copyright infringement.
But Zee's reported move hasn't upset other music channels much,
it seems. Rival music channels counter that buying a movie's telecast
rights need not necessarily mean indefinite rights to film songs
Contacted by indiantelevision.com, MTV India director, programming
and TAR, Ashish Patil, shot back, "Being a multi-national media
company, we are very careful on the copyrights issue. Globally,
we have very stringent rules that we follow as zealously in India
Pointing out that MTV would not air anything for which it doesn't
have the legal rights, Patil added that, anyway, the music channel
"gets" exclusive telecast rights of 50-60 per cent of
all original Indian music software developed, which rules out possibilities
of copyright infringement" as pointed out by Zee Music, some
rare exceptions notwithstanding.
"Since January 2004, MTV has received 434 song clips for exclusive
airing, some of which are for a particular period of time. "In
short, if producers of music, filmi or otherwise, want to reach
out to people, they should come to MTV," Patil
According to Star India senior vice-president, marketing and publicity,
Ajay Vidyasagar, "We at Star, work with the film and music
industry to protect copyright of any intellectual property. We do
license music for our music channel. We will continue to be on the
right side of the law."
Star-owned Channel [V]'s programming line-up also does contain
a sizable percentage of Hindi film music and Indipop.
One of the reasons why Zee Music is threatening legal actions for
copyright infringement is also because of its limited reach, which
can be neutralised up to an extent through publicised exclusive
According to TAM data, Zee Music had an average 13 per cent reach
in November in C&S 4+ Hindi-speaking markets. MTV's reach is
much high at 24.23 per cent, followed by Channel [V] and ETC Music
(20 per cent each).
Amidst all these posturing, what is the legal position? The legal
framework says, as long as one pays, one can broadcast the music
software, but the rates have to be negotiated with the other industry