Jun 282020
 
The first Online Sahityasabha

Yesterday, I was helping Kaberi and friends stage their first Online Sahithyasabha . We postponed the start by half an hour (compared to what I had announced in my blog post last weekend) as it would otherwise have been very early for Debangana, Irabati and Suparno to perform from Texas. The other performers were in London, Kolkata and Santiniketan.

The performers were, in order of appearance:
Saranya Sen Gupta, Irabati Banerjee, Manini Mukhopadhyay, Kaberi Chatterjee, Tirthankar Roy, Debangana Banerjee, Pritha & Soumitra Bandhopadhyay, Sangita Tripathi Mitra, Sayan Bandhopadhyay, Nilanjana Sen Majumder & Debanshu Majumder, Sudakhsina Roy & Nibedita Sen Gupta.

Guest of honour: Professor Somendranath Bandhopadhyay

Oddly enough, the live nature of the performance meant that the back stage emotions were very similar to those back stage at a stage performance. Everyone had to finish their costume and make-up by the time the performance was due to start. We also had separate ‘entrances’ for artists and audience: the artists had a Zoom connection while the audience had the link to the live YouTube event (which I had posted in my post last week).

During the performance, all the performers were supporting each other. The tradition of those listening saying ‘Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu’ after each performance also provided an immediate feedback to the performers.

Afterwards, most of the performers were able to catch up about the experience before the US friends had to leave for breakfast, we went for lunch and the friends in India went for dinner.

We had just over 60 concurrent viewers following the live stream on YouTube and several were commenting in the live chat – including posting ‘Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu’ in Bengali after each performance. The feedback both during and since the performance was very positive. So maybe there will be an Online Sahityasabha 2 in a month or so … .

Some lessons learned:

  • have a clear running order which the performers and technical support can follow
  • have a backup plan in case there is a problem with the internet connection of a performer just before or during their performance
  • make sure that all the performers are aware that, since Zoom no longer allows Zoom hosts to unmute people for privacy reasons, the performers each need to make sure they know how to unmute themselves before they start their performance
  • test the internet speed of the performers’ connections in advance
  • record the performance in Zoom as well to allow more options for a post-performance edit
  • the YouTube live chat disappears after the live event and can only be replayed if the original video remains public or unlisted and untrimmed
  • it is possible to trim the video after the live event using YouTube Studio, as well as skipping any long pauses. However, this is saved as a new video which is published separately.
InvitationSaranya Sen Gupta
ResponseIrabati Banerjee
Tagore songManini Mukhopadhyayকত অজানারে জানাইলে তুমি (First part missing due to technical problem)
About Sahityasabha*Kaberi Chatterjeeসাহিত্যসভার মুখবন্ধ
Tagore song (esraj)Tirthankar Royশ্রাবণের ধারার মত পড়ুক ঝরে
Short storyDebangana Banerjeeস্বরচিত রচনা পাঠ
Tagore songPritha & Soumitra Bandhopadhyayকোন পুরাতন প্রানের টানে
Tagore danceDancer: Kaberi Chatterjee
Recitation: Nilanjana Sen Majumder
Esraj: Animesh Chandra
নববর্ষা (হৃদয় আমার নাচেরে আজিকে)
Tagore recitationSangita Tripathi Mitraরথযাত্রা (লিপিকা)
Tagore songIrabati Banerjeeপ্রাণ ভরিয়ে তৃষা হরিয়ে
Tagore songSayan Bandhopadhyayনিবিড় মেঘের ছায়ায় মন দিয়েছি মেলে
Tagore recitationNilanjana Sen Majumder & Debanshu Majumderপাঠ: বর্ষামঙ্গল
Tagore songSinger: Sudakhsina Roy, Esraj: Tirthankar Royএস্রাজ সহযোগে গহন রাতে শ্রাবণধারা পড়িছে ঝরে
Tagore songSuparno Banerjeeহৃদয়ে মন্দ্রিল ডমরু গুরু গুরু
Tagore danceDancer: Nibedita Sen Gupta
Singer: Saranya Sen Gupta
মোর ভাবনারে কী হাওয়ায় মাতালো
Tagore songManini Mukhopadhyayগানের ভিতর দিয়ে যখন
AppreciationProfessor Somendranath Bandhopadhyay
Programme of yesterday’s Online Sahityasabha

* based on শেষ পারানির কড়ি by Hirendranath Dutta and কবির পাঠশালা by Swati Ghosh and Ashok Sarkar

The dark side of copyright

I also realised that copyright collection bodies like IPRS have convinced YouTube to flag any Tagore songs for automated copyright claims. The live broadcast received no less than 5 copyright claims:

Copyright claims against yesterday’s Online Sahityasabha

Now, this means that, even if Kaberi’s channel cannot generate revenue from this video, YouTube could add advertisments and these copyright bodies would receive a share of the advertising revenue. One could imagine that YouTube does this systematically from the tens of thousands of Bengalis around the world (including professional singers) who upload videos of themselves singing Tagore songs. It could be quite lucrative for these copyright collection bodies.

Tagore’s works have been in the public domain since 1 January 2002 (over 18 years ago!). YouTube requires anyone disputing copyright claims to accept that their channel may be closed down if they dispute copyright claims repeatedly. Needless to say, I have advised Kaberi to dispute these spurious copyright claims but others may be intimidated by the declarations YouTube requires them to make before doing so.

Both claiming unlicensed revenue for other people’s work and discouraging these people from disputing spurious copyright claims by threatening them with closing down their YouTube channels would seem to be anti-competitive practices.

Anyhow, here is a list of the bodies/companies behind the copyright claims listed above, according to the details provided by YouTube:

SongCopyright claim by
Kato Ajanale JanaileSaregama Publishing, The Royalty Network (Publishing)
Gahana Raate Shravana DharaIPRS_CS
Ganer Bhetor DeyeG Series Publishing
Shaboner Dharar MotoIPRS_CS
Gahan Rater ShrabandharaIPRS_CS
Copyright collection bodies claiming rights on Tagore songs (Source: YouTube)

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