Court delivers landmark verdict in favour of Ilaiyaraaja

Music maestro Ilaiyaraaja won a major legal battle on Tuesday with the Madras High Court holding that he has a right over the songs composed by him for various films over the years.

Hearing in two cases filed by Ilayaraja against AGI Music and Echo Recording company concluded Tuesday and the High Court dismissed one case and the other was decreed.

One of the cases was related to a Malaysian Music company, AGI Music and the court observed that the agreement between the company and Ilayaraja was for a five-year period and that the company does not have the rights to use his composition longer than that,

Justice Anita Sumanth made it clear that the songs composed by the musician cannot be exploited or used to earn revenue in any manner without his permission. However, films that have songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja and which have been screened in theatres are exempt from the order.

In his suit, the music composer had sought to restrain Agi Music and a few other music labels from monetising the songs composed by him without his permission.

On its part, Agi Music accused the composer of having breached the terms of a 2007 agreement through which he had reportedly assigned the copyright of his songs to his wife, who supposedly entered into an Sound Recording Licensing Agreement (SRLA) with the plaintiff company.

In 2010, Ilaiyaraaja had filed a criminal complaint against Echo recording company for copyright violation. He had accused them of violating the copyrights of his songs and for not paying him royalty.

While the Madras High Court dismissed the criminal proceedings in October 2018, Ilaiyaraaja maintained that his copyrights and patent case were still pending and that the ban on using his songs without permission was still valid.