VETERAN MUSIC composer Ilaiyaraja has sent a legal notice to singer S P Balasubrahmanyam, asking him to seek permission before performing songs composed by him. Balasubrahmanyam, who is currently on a world tour with singer Chitra for a series of events titled SPB50, marking his 50th year in the industry, revealed this in a Facebook post.
In the post, Balasubrahmanyam, popularly known as SPB, wrote that the legal notice said “we are not supposed to perform compositions of Shri. Ilaiyaraja without his permission”. The notice warned that if he sang composed by Ilaiyaraja, he will be breaking copyright laws and “have to pay huge financial penalties and face legal action”. “Let me say, I am ignorant of these legalities,” said Balasubrahmanyam, who along with Ilaiyaraja, brought out several musical hits over the years.
“My son designed this world tour and we kickstarted this SPB50 concert tour in August in Toronto, then we performed in Russia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and did lots of shows in India too,” Balasubrahmanyam wrote, adding that there were no “feelers” from Ilaiyaraja’s office during the previous shows. “As I said earlier, I am ignorant of the law. If it is a law, so be it and I obey it,” he added.
“In these circumstances, our troupe cannot perform Isaijnani’s (music maestro) compositions from today. But the show should happen. By God’s grace, I have sung lots of other composers’ songs too which we will present. Hope you all will bless our concerts as usual,” he said.
Sources close to Ilaiyaraja said the music maestro had taken legal steps earlier too on similar copyright issues. They said the composer meant to target only “big international players who are making money out of his songs” and not the small-time singers.
Earlier, through a legal battle in the Madras High Court and outside, Ilaiyaraja had said that nobody should use his songs without his consent. “Only I hold the rights on my songs. The agreements that I signed earlier will stand for only five years. Unless they have renewed the agreements, they stand void,” he said.