Just a day after Kerala's largest temple festival, Thrissur Pooram, ended with its glorious procession, a controversy has sparked over the audio copyright of the percussion ensemble. People are unable to upload videos of the famous percussion (melam) that is a major part of Thrissur Pooram.
According to reports, the famous performances have been copyrighted by Sony Music for upcoming movie The Sound Story starring Academy Award-winner Resul Pookutty in the lead role.
The movie showcases foot-tapping Panchavadyam, Panchari Melam and Ilanjithara Melam. The usage of the sound of these melams without the consent of Sony Music can account to violation of the Copyright Act.
Once a copyright is obtained, a song, its music or any similar content cannot be uploaded online. Live streaming an event with the music on Facebook or Youtube can lead to copyright infringement.
Meanwhile, Resul Pookutty has said that he doesn't understand how the controversy started. "YouTube has so many videos of Thrissur Pooram. Some channels stream it live. Sony has only requested not to use the recording in The Sound Story as it is. It is in no way connected to Thrissur Pooram, which is Kerala's own pooram," Pookutty told Manorama.
However, pooram aficionados all over the world have questioned this move by Sony Music and Resul Pookutty. Since the percussions are performed by prominent artists like Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, people fear that similar events at other venues would also be banned due to the copyright. People have also sought action against owning copyrights for the percussion forms that have always been a glorious part of Kerala's art forms.