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Nahid Hossain

Lucky Akhand, the Bangladeshi singer-composer is not a newbie in the music scene of Bangladesh. His talents were proven to be promising, when he was enlisted as a music composer of HMV Pakistan at the tender age of 14 and as a musician of HMV India at the age of 16. He has been associated with the musical band Happy Touch, released several albums and has given us some solid good music over the years such as “Mamonia”, “Agey Jodi Jantam”, “Abar Elo Je Shondhya” – to name a few.

While his music still graces the listener’s libraries and is blasted on radio channels still today, the man behind the tunes remain forgotten. Crippled with the merciless grasp of cancer, the legend Lucky Akhand resurfaced on social media and eventually national dailies at about the third week of July 2016 because of his pleas of donation for his cancer treatment. Today this man, who invested his life into making brilliant music, is completely out of his pockets.  Surely this would not have been the situation if he had chosen to do a 9 to 5 job where he would have a pension scheme to fall back on. But no, this man chose creativity over conformity, hence his plight today!

It is about time musicians take heed of this situation. No one will compensate you for your contribution unless you assert your rights. It is time we think about music industry in legal framework. The industry will not flourish and the key contributors of the industry, i.e. the musicians shall remain cheated if the legal provisions relating to copyright licensing are not exploited appropriately . The music industry should ideally be reliant on royalties generated by the licensing of copyrighted songs and recordings as a primary form of payment for musicians. Whereas, the fact remains that in Bangladesh, every entity in the music ecosystem other than the musicians, get enriched.

As much as the system is to be blamed, the musicians or any artist for that matter, need to get smarter and start asserting their rights.  What happened to Lucky Akhand is not the first case in Bangladesh, nor will it be the last unless positive steps are taken to curb this epidemic. This is a consequence of poor Intellectual Property management. If musicians took it upon themselves to be aware of their rights and had foresight on how to monetize their creativity, this situation would have not arisen. The harsh reality is that the "creative products" have a shelf life; thereby they may potentially lose its original value over time or may even become redundant. Therefore it is imperative that musicians protect their work from the outset and collect royalties every single time their work is used commercially. The irony is that most us do not have the minimum decency to respect the creative effort made by others. We also do not even have the decency to give the rightful owner – at least the due credit let alone the monetary compensation.

Lucky Akhand’s plight teaches us two very important things. It is about time that musicians or artists of any kind realize their worth and figure out their "pension" plans; and that the key players in the music industry start engaging in ethical and legal, business. It is indeed about time that artists seek specialist advice before they give away their creativity, because more often than not the bigwigs design the scheme in such a way that it becomes one of soul selling in the exchange of nothing next to peanuts. Let us - the music lovers, make it a mission to not allow one more artist to go through what Lucky Akhand is going through.

August 08, 2016
About Author

The writer is a legal associate and IP practitioner at Old Bailey Chambers.


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