Indian Authors-Composers Society Re-Admitted to CISAC

New Delhi, India
Harsh Vardhan/Getty Images

New Delhi, India

The Indian Performing Right Society Limited has been allowed back into the international network of authors' societies after two of years of reform.

The world's largest international network of authors' societies, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), has readmitted its Indian representative as a member.
India's composers' copyright society, the Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS), has been allowed back as a CISAC member after two of years of intense reform.

IPRS was expelled from CISAC in 2016 when a compliance review by the international organization found serious problems and a lack of adherence to CISAC's rules. CISAC's Board of Directors and General Assembly has now re-admitted IPRS after the society's governance has been restructured.

Previously there were reports that Indian composers found it difficult to collect royalties as the society was controlled by Indian music publishers. In order to gain re-admittance IPRS had to institute a number of changes. These included: the election of a representative board of six authors-composers and six publishers; the adoption of CISAC-approved distribution rules; the release of money withheld from authors since 2008, which amounts to approximately $10.2 million; and back payment of some approximately $3.7 million to authors for unpaid licensing of works and unpaid sync rights' fees.

Achille Forler, an advisor to the board of IPRS, and key figure in making this reform happen, tells Billboard, "All disputes -- going back to 2004 -- have been laid to rest. We are starting with a clean sheet. However, a couple of large local publishers have not yet agreed to become members."

Forler notes, that while the situation for author-composers is vastly improved from the past, there is still work to be done. "The challenge is now to bring users to take a license from the Society, especially local companies -- streaming services, radios, broadcasters -- who have been accustomed to paying only for the sound recordings," he says. "We have contracted the leading American consultant to help us establish the fairest broadcast tariffs. The collection of IPRS has increased from $4.7 million to over $20 million in the space of two years. We project an annual income of over $100 million within five years."

Despite these challenges Forler is pleased with the much-needed reform that has completely changed the situation for Indian authors and composers. He says, "We have moved away from work-for-hire and laid solid foundations for a peaceful, predictable, prosperous and sustainable music ecosystem where royalties will be the salary and retirement plan of lyricists and composers."