Given that royalty, by definition, is a legallybinding payment made to an individual for the ongoing use of work created by her or him, it is usually assumed that creators get it by default, along with credits in a film or a show. However, in India, despite a law stating that royalties should be shared equally by owners (producers) and authors (writers), and an amendment in 2012 that makes the right to receive royalty unwaivable, writers are yet to begin receiving it.
Taking on the onus of ensuring that the law is implemented, senior screenwriters and producers like Anjum Rajabali, Vipul Amrutlal Shah, Juhi Chaturvedi, Saket Chaudhary,
Pointing out that in Hollywood, based on the arrangement between the
While their application is yet to be approved, the SRAI has invited stakeholders like the Producers Guild, the Indian Film & TV Producers Council, the
Calling it a friendly move, Anjum says, “Instead of communicating via the government, why can’t we seek to understand each other first? After all, the producer-writer partnership is the first step that initiates any project. We are confident that every doubt or anxiety can be resolved by understanding each other’s concerns.”
Ask him if, during an ongoing pandemic and the resulting economic slowdown, producers will accept a proposal to share revenue and he reasons, “Our aim is hardly to disturb, far less disrupt the economics of our industry. Why would we do that? Everyone’s livelihood, including ours, depends on the good health of the industry. By incentivising writing, the industry will get good films and shows, which create bigger viewership, higher revenues, and benefits everyone.”
The writer of films like Ghulam, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Pukar, Apaharan, and Raajneeti goes on to say that royalties are not paid by the producer, and are, instead, a small percentage of what’s earned during the film or show’s secondary exploitation after its run in theatres. He is hopeful that producers, broadcasters and OTT platforms will work with writers in a spirit of cooperation and partnership for the better of the industry.