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ISLAMABAD: The Intellectual Property Organization Pakistan (IPO-Pak) on Sunday urged the artists to minutely examine their contracts before signing with the production companies until the government comes up with a comprehensive legal framework to protect their royalty payments.

IPO-Pakistan Executive Director Messaq Arif responded this after artists’ recent campaign #RoyaltyForArtists on the social media in support of TV actress Naila Jeffery who called for royalties on the re-runs of her dramas for her cancer treatment.

Royalty payments, not protected in Pakistan due to lack of awareness and legal lacuna, are usually given to the artists on the re-run of their products and projects.

Messaq said the artists’ demand for royalty payments was ‘absolutely just’, but it had a legal process which needed to be understood by them.

He said there was a delicate difference between Intellectual Property Rights and Copy Rights which must be understood while claiming the right to a royalty payment.

The royalty, he said, of a collective artwork was needed to be distributed among all the stakeholders for which a Collective Management System (CMS) was available and being pursued across the globe for collection of such payments.

The ED urged the artists to form the Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) which worked to ensure distribution of royalty after its collection from the platform where their project was being re-run.

“Every stakeholder has to become a CMO’s member as it is mandated to work for royalty collection,” he observed and said those CMOs sent tariff to the IPO-Pakistan to determine each stakeholder’s royalty share in that artwork.

He said every industry was supposed to have its own organization, adding the music industry had recently formed its CMO and in process of finalizing a tariff for the royalty of their work.

“Our lives are enriched with the contributions made by the artists, therefore, the IPO is ready to extend all-out support to them in forming CMOs and collecting royalty payments,” he remarked.

Though, there was no comprehensive mechanism for royalty collection in Pakistan, the artists also usually gave up their rights while signing their contract with the production companies and media channels, he noted.

He said if there was no CMO, the IPO-Pak could help that particular artist, whose work was being misused, in initiating a legal case against that specific organization. Renowned TV Actor Javed Sheikh also echoed the same point of view and regretted that the artists gave up their own rights while signing their contract with media and production houses.

He recalled the time when the Pakistan Television Network was the main source of income for the artists and used to made royalty payment to the artists.

With the rise of private media channels and production houses, the artists started taking heavy payments against their work instead of taking interest in the royalty payment. He said now those channels were earning millions of dollars by re-running and streaming the artwork of artists on digital platforms such as Youtube, Netflix and others.

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