Veteran actor Naila Jaffery’s appeal for royalties spearheaded a movement for royalties in the Pakistan entertainment industry. While initially only a handful of celebrities came forward to demand their “due right,” the movement soon gained traction with A-listers from the industry including Mahira Khan, Humayun Saeed, Adnan Siddiqui, Vasay Chaudhry, Mehwish Hayat, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Maya Ali and Ahmed Ali Butt uniting to demand royalties for their work.
Others who are also participating in the campaign and have raised their voice for it include Yasir Hussain, Iqra Aziz, Mansha Pasha, Sakina Samo, Asad Siddiqui, Zara Noor Abbas, Armeena Khan, Kübra Khan, Bilal Abbas Khan, Yumna Zaidi and Junaid Khan.
“Actors and producers must get royalties for their hard work. That’s no favour, it’s their right,” said Humayun.
“In every industry, there are some rules. Some laws,” said Zara Noor Abbas. “Let’s have it set in ours too. Let’s acknowledge the ones who entertain you on the cost of their lives.”
Asad Siddiqui said: “In tough times, solidarity is the force. We stand together, hand in hand.”
“In the words of Irshad Kamil, ‘Sadda haq, Aithe rakh‘,” said Osman Khalid Butt.
Mehwish said: “Royalties must be paid to artistes on all re-runs,foreign & cross platform sales as is the case everywhere else in the
Actors on my fav show “Friends” for example make more out of royalties each yr than the original fees they were paid.”
She also added: “Bottom line-Artists need to be valued!”
Sharing her thoughts on the matter, Kübra said: “Not Just actors. Writers, musicians, directors.. and soo many more.”
“In the passing years, we’ve seen some of our seniors who have ruled the industry request respect when it should’ve been their right. There are rules and regulations that set a well-run system and it’s high time we implement them so that our industry can run as smoothly as it should. Every artist deserves that,” asserted the actor.
“It’s time to play fair,” said Sanam Saeed.
Meanwhile, Osama Tahir, who gained popularity for his roles in Ruswai and Mushk, explained the concept of royalties and what exactly Pakistani artists are demanding.
“Actors normally aren’t paid very well, and most times they aren’t paid on time in Pakistan (not talking about A-listers),” said Tahir. “But what channels and production companies do is that they pay you for that project (if they do), and keep selling the drama again and again to different channels and countries.”
Elaborating his point, Tahir said: “So the least we should be offered is royalty from every show that we do. If royalties are not possible then at least pay actors well enough that they don’t rely on royalties. As it is the case, everywhere else, where there’s a thriving TV industry.”
“Pay 100× times better or pay solid royalties… it’s not complicated,” he added.
Later, the actor further explained: “#GiveRoyaltiesToArtists isn’t a ‘give us more money,’ it’s a right.”
“You use us to make money many times in Pakistan and beyond, and you refuse us to ever have that conversation. Many artists have struggled and can’t make ends meet because they aren’t paid on time or at all. So pay up,” he added.
Similarly, Ayesha Omar while explaining the concept to a social media user, said: “I think you haven’t understood the meaning of ‘royalties’. Artists are not demanding to be treated like royalty.”
“‘Royalty’ is a fee to artists who have created or contributed to create something whenever that work is performed/used/aired,” she added.
‘Govt working to introduce royalty payments for artists’
Earlier on April 12, PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan had announced that the federal government is working to introduce a comprehensive bill to ensure that artists are given financial credit for their work.
“Most countries around the world give royalties to artists every time a show, their work is re-run, a second time or more,” Senator Faisal had said. “Sadly in Pakistan where many artists are already underpaid, there is no policy or law ensuring that artists be given financial credit for their work.”
The Senator further said that it is “very critical to fill the gaps and bring proper framework via amendments in legislation to ensure that our producers [and] artists get their rights to royalties.”
Speaking exclusively to The Current on the matter, Senator Faisal said: “Royalty is very important and I am working on this bill to ensure our artists get their due right. I am hoping to get it passed soon without any further delays.”
Asserting that the government is committed to addressing this issue, Senator Faisal said: “Actors, musicians, singers – all artists must be supported,” adding that they will soon be entitled to royalties.