Mumbai: Lyricist Javed Akhtar and his actress wife Shabana Azmi have come out in favour of the proposed amendments to the Copyright Bill 2010 which gives independent rights to writers, lyricists, singers, composers and directors.
Reacting to filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt`s criticism of the draft bill which is pending before the Parliamentary standing committee, Shabana said, "Producers make lyricists sign contracts that irrevocably waive all rights that might in future come to lyricist under copyright act. UNJUST."
She told Bhatt on the microblogging site Twitter that a share in the profits is not the demand but a royalty for when song is used as mobile ring tones or on radio, TV.
Javed Akhtar accused Bhatt of representing the vested interests in the corridors of power in Delhi. "You are not fooling any one. You represent the vested interest in this matter and stand totally exposed," Akhtar tweeted.
To which Bhatt responded, "If what you allege about me is true it should not hurt me. & if it is not true even then it should not hurt me."
Giving his support to the bill, Akhtar said, "we are thankful that soon a law will save the authors, composers from the contracts that are like bonded labour."
The scriptwriter turned lyricist said from all over the world royalties are collected in the name of author composers and often do not reach them.
"No one is asking for a penny from the film`s profit. We are asking for our rights and dignity," he wrote.
Bhatt stressed the need for engaging with one another and eliminating distrust. He said he supports the creative side of film business but told Akhtar, "we can not get far by merely demonizing our producer `brother`."
In a reply tweet to Shabana Azmi, Bhatt agreed that the feudal mind sets of the producers have to change. "But this idea of the starving artist is also exaggerated," he said. Bhatt and Akhtar are members of the Bollywood panel instituted by the government to review the proposed amendment in the Copyright Act.
This is not the first time that the proposed amendments to the Copyright act has generated a controversy.
In February this year, there was a similar spat between actor Aamir Khan and Javed Akhtar on the issue, forcing Aamir Khan to resign from a panel established by the human resources development ministry. He later withdrew his resignation.