Court allows 30 artistes to file suit against PRISM over royalty payments

KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court has granted permission to 30 artistes to file a legal action against the Performers Rights and Interest Society of Malaysia Bhd (PRISM) seeking royalty payments since 2017.

Judge Ahmad Murad Abdul Aziz made the ruling in accordance with Section 471 of the Companies Act 2016.

Among the artistes are Datuk Jamal Ubaidillah Ali or popularly known as Jamal Abdillah; Datuk Irwan Shah Abdullah (DJ Dave); Datuk Shamsuddin Jaafar (J Sham); Azharina Azhar and Haris Fadzilah Daud (Aris Ariwatan).

The singers and musicians filed the application on Dec 8, 2022, naming PRISM as the respondent.

In his supporting affidavit, Jamal states that PRISM has been declared a licensing body under Section 27A of the Copyright Act 1987 to carry out the collection and distribution of music royalties on behalf of its members consisting of singers and musicians.

He claims that the now-defunct body has failed to collect and distribute the royalties that the applicants are entitled to receive between 2017 and 2021.

Therefore, the applicants are seeking a declaration that PRISM is negligent in carrying out its duties as a trustee to collect and distribute royalties to all applicants as well as an order for the body to pay the royalties collected from Jan 1, 2017, to Dec 31, 2021, among other things.

Lawyer Datuk Kamaruzaman Arif, representing all the applicants, told reporters when met after the proceeding that today’s court decision also sets a new benchmark for other artistes.

According to the lawyer, they will file a legal action against PRISM as soon as possible to find out how the royalty calculation is made.

“We know the royalties were collected in 2017 and 2018, but there is no information on whether the money was collected or not in the following years.

“The parties involved need to explain to the court why the artistes are not getting their royalty payments when their songs are being played on the radio,” he said.

Jamal, whose songs have dominated the airwaves since the 80s, said he was grateful for today’s decision and hoped that artistes will not be oppressed in the future.

Fellow artiste, Aris Ariwatan who is known for songs such as “Lamunan Terhenti” and “Permaidani” said it is a turning point for all local artistes.

The 30 applicants are also represented by lawyers Datuk Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman, Sofiah Omar and Muhammad Izzat Dzulkafli while the official receivers and liquidators who are also senior federal counsels from the Kuala Lumpur Department of Insolvency Rahni Kartini Abd Rahim and Norizan Omar were also present at today’s proceeding. – Bernama