Devaswoms to join copyright tussle over Pooram events

Cacophony over Thrissur Pooram percussion copyrights
Chenda maestro Peruvanam Kuttan Marar performing at the Thrissur Pooram. Photo: Unni Kottakkal

Thrissur: A copyright row is on over the online use of a few audiovisual events of the famed Thrissur Pooram. It has come to light that there are curbs on sharing videos and audio clippings on online platforms like YouTube popular Pooram events like the 'Ilanjithara Melam' and 'Panchavadyam' performances. Two major temple administrative bodies which are intergral to the annual event have now decided to intervene.

After meeting their lawyers, the representatives of Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi Devaswoms said they will choose the best course of action if is established that any private firm has complete control over Ilanjithara melam, a large open-air concert, in the name of copyrights.

The Ilanjithara Melam, Panchavadyam and Panchari Melam of Thrissur Pooram were recorded earlier for the multilingual movie 'The Sound Story' featuring Resul Pookutty in lead role. Copyrights for these went to producers Sony Group along with the songs recorded for the movie. Once a copyright is obtained for a song, that music or anything similar cannot be uploaded online.

The dispute involves a 3.04-minute pooram song, 7.05 min Panchavadyam led by Kongadu Madhu, 7.54-min Panchari melam lad by Sateeshan Marar, a 5.42 min Ilanjithara melam of Peruvanam Kuttan Marar that were recorded during the 2017 pooram.

Prasad Prabhakar, director of 'The Sound Story', told devaswom managements that Sony has copyrights to the score composed for the movie and he could not explain why other melam videos face online sharing issues.

Sony’s copyrights restrict use of this piece of audio and video only, said the director.

The issue came to light after several people complained that they were denied from uploading a video or audio clip that contains the performances claiming copyright issues.