A day after Smule, a Karaoke app, removed most of Ilaiyaraaja’s songs from its database following a notice from the composer claiming copyright infringement, Pradeep Kumar, Raaja’s copyright consultant, declared that other composers too, must claim copyright for their work.
Speaking to Silverscreen, Pradeep Kumar said: “Smule is a western company; if the same thing happens to a US-based singer, they may sue. Just because nobody claims [copyright] here, they use our songs without prior intimation. Every composer should raise his voice against this issue.”
Predictably, many of his fans are upset that they wouldn’t able to sing Ilaiyaraaja’s songs on the app. “We don’t knock at fans’doors and tell them not to listen to his songs or sing his songs,” said Pradeep, “We have asked a US-based company – that has been using his songs for commercial purposes without his consent – to remove his songs from the app. It has a feature in which people can sing to a BGM. That music is Raaja’s hard work and it has to be respected. We have sent a notice to Smule to remove his songs.”
Reiterating that the move is not against Raaja’s fans, but against a company, Pradeep Kumar added: “Ilaiyaraja sir has been entertaining his fans all these years with his songs, they have to support him in this issue rather than being upset. When you feel down, you listen to Raaja songs, If Raaja is feeling low, he cannot listen to his songs; he looks to his fans. So, their support is very crucial. Every fan should question a company if his songs are not accorded respect.”
The consultant further said: “During his heyday, Raaja used to wake up at 3 am, attend two music classes and then go to studio at 6 am to work on his compositions. He has worked hard for more than 35 years. If he has put so much effort into composing a song, a commercial company cannot use it without prior permission”
This move comes nearly six months after Ilaiyaraaja sent a legal notice to singer SP Balasubrahmanyam to stop performing his songs without permission.