The battle to ensure the appropriate Intellectual Property (IP) rights of the lyricists, composers and performers, has been a long-standing issue in the entertainment industry of Bangladesh. As the term IP refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; symbols, names and images used for commercial purposes - professional music creators must get their deserving, hard-earned royalties. In Bangladesh, however - the scenario has been frustrating for ages. Without a proper CMO (Collective Management Organisation), professional music creators in the country suffered to receive their due and deserving royalties - until the arrival of BLCPS or Bangladesh Lyricist Composers and Performers Society, the first and only Collective Management Organisation (CMO) for Music authorised by the government. Founded in 2013, the organisation received its licence from the government in 2014 to accomplish its vision to protect and manage the rights of Bangladeshi songwriters, composers, singers and distributors.

Uniting the country's music stars under one roof, BLCPS organized a conference on Tuesday, February 6 at the Crystal Palace Auditorium in the capital's Gulshan Club where Satoshi Watanabe, Honorary Advisor of CISAC (The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), delivered the keynote speech on the importance of CMOs and their function and activities in creating worldwide music intellectual property rights and collecting royalties. Mr Satoshi also conducted a three-day training in Dhaka to address BLCPS's capacity requirements as the only CMO in Bangladesh that works with CISAC.

An expert in the field of copyright, Satoshi Watanabe has worked for more than 40 years in the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers - JASRAC. Between 2016-2022, Mister Watanabe served as the Asia Pacific Committee Chairman in CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers; and currently serves as CISAC's Asia Pacific Honorary Advisor.

In an exclusive interview with Dhaka Courier at the event, Satoshi Watanabe shared his experience of exploring the activities of BLCPS, its prospects, his own experience of working with eminent and popular music artists in the country and more.

"Copyrights deal directly with respecting an individual's intellectual creations and economic rights. It secures the diversities of culture and honours the creative ideas of the creators. CISAC is the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers and a non-governmental and non-profit umbrella organisation that aims to cooperate with composers and lyricists, painters, sculptors, and all the creators from different art forms, to help with their Intellectual Property rights. I was the Asia Pacific Regional Committee Chairperson of CISAC, and during that time I started meeting many of our Asian colleagues, including the India Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS). This is my first-ever visit here to Bangladesh, and I am very happy to see the musicians and music creators, with whom I shared my analyses on the formation and operation of an active society for their intellectual rights."

On how he got connected with BLCPS:

"From BLCPS, Hamin Ahmed (CEO of BLCPS) contacted CISAC last year (2023), asking for the necessary guidance and guidelines on how to start the procedures of becoming a member of CISAC. Then I came here to Dhaka, to meet the talented team of music artists-creators and conducted a three-day training here to address the BLCPS's capacity requirements as the only CMO in Bangladesh that works with the CISAC. CMO is purposefully obligated to collect the royalties of the artists and the creators, but the main purpose is actually to ensure and establish solidarity."

Why the membership of CISAC is important:

"Digital services are very dominant in this modern era, and there are no boundaries. So it is possible that some organizations may try bypassing the authorized local societies. CISAC membership prevents this situation as a non-profit organization, which follows the 'no discrimination' rule strictly between the members - and the creators. It treats all members equally.

CISAC is currently active in a total of 116 countries with 225 CMOs and over 5 million creators; its diverse field of works includes music, audiovisual, drama/play, literature, and visual art - and the people actively involved in these genres."

His impression of BLCPS and its members:

"I am highly impressed to see the enthusiasm of these talented creators and esteemed personalities at this conference, especially the young songwriters and music artists. I was not very familiar with Bangladeshi music in detail earlier but since my arrival here, I started to listen to Bangla songs, starting with the band songs of your popular bands; however, I have also listened to some of the top Bangla songs, back in Japan. I think the BLCPS has what it takes to be the successful CMO in Bangladesh, with the passionate leadership behind the organization and the help of the government."

The first CMO for the music industry in Bangladesh, BLCPS was founded in 2013. The organization received its license from the government in 2014 to accomplish its vision to protect and manage the rights of Bangladeshi songwriters, composers, singers and distributors. Through BLCPS, lyricists, composers, and performers will be able to receive their due royalties from both within and outside of the country, according to its initiators and board members.

BLCPS is led by a non-profit Board of Trustees, chaired by the country's eminent singer Sabina Yasmin. Legendary composer Alauddin Ali and popular vocalist Andrew Kishore have been actively involved with BLCPS from its inception in 2013, working diligently for the entity despite their severe illness. At the event, BLCPS acknowledged the contributions of these two late great artists with heartfelt respect and wished them eternal peace, and it is committed to doing its part in safeguarding the intellectual property of Bangladesh's music producers, in support of the Bangladesh Government's ongoing efforts to develop a 'Smart Bangladesh'.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts