ISLAMABAD: The first-ever music policy to address piracy, copyrights and other issues has been prepared, according to Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.

In an announcement on Monday, she said the draft has been finalised and termed it “big news for the industry”.

The draft policy is likely to be presented before the federal cabinet after Eidul Azha for approval. After the cabinet’s nod, the ministry will implement the policy.

The new policy outlines incentives and initiatives to boost the music industry and address the stakeholders’ concerns about ineffective copyright laws in Pakistan.

Since the 1970s, no policy parameters, including legislative and administrative, for the music industry have been introduced, the minister regretted.

Draft likely to be presented before cabinet after Eid for approval

She conceded that Pakistan and its music industry suffered due to intellectual property theft, but said the new policy will fully protect the rights of composers and musicians.

The policy draft has been prepared in accordance with international standards. With this policy, the protection of the rights of artists’ public performance, production, distribution, adaptation, duration, and mechanical and communication rights have been brought into a legal framework.

Through such measures, the problem of users and licensees would be solved, Ms Aurangzeb said.

“Music could be termed the soul and spirit of the Pakistani society, rather it was a national and cultural identity, being brought forward from generation to generation.”

The policy would effectively end the monopolisation of the industry and protest the basic legal rights of the artists.

“All issues and demands of the music stakeholders, including copyrights, would be resolved.”

The policy would provide legal cover to the rights of music producers, singers, writers and lyricists, besides resolving the long-standing issues of the industry related to sales and piracy.

It will have special measures to preserve classical music and initiatives to promote local and folk music and regional singers.Under the policy, steps would be taken to not only preserve but also promote Pakistan’s musical heritage, which was rich being a unique combination of Sufi poetry, with classic and modern music, the minister added.

For a long time, showbiz artists and musicians have urged the government to implement intellectual property rights and ensure they are paid royalties for their art.

Royalties are payments made to artists when a project that they have worked on gets a re-run or is reused in any way.

A step to address this issue was taken earlier this year when PTI Senator Faisal Javed announced a royalties bill for the country’s artists has been tabled in the Senate.

He added that artists have been facing the issue of “rightful and just royalties for a long time due to redundant and outdated provisions of relevant laws.”

He said that the amendment in the Copyright Ordinance 1962 aims at empowering the copyright board to fix the royalties for licensing and assignment work.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2023

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