HomeWhat's TrendingTheft of a Kashmiri Poet’s Songs Sparks Litigation Over Intellectual Property Rights...

Theft of a Kashmiri Poet’s Songs Sparks Litigation Over Intellectual Property Rights Violation

Renowned Kashmiri poet, playwright, and songwriter Fayaz Dilbar filed  a case on US based NGO over Intellectual Property Rights Violation. He has been left stunned after discovering his lyrics featured on popular platforms Spotify and JioSaavn without his consent or acknowledgment. Dilbar, whose artistic portfolio spans filmmaking, fiction, theatre, and poetry, expressed a mix of emotions upon uncovering this unauthorised use of his work.

‘I was initially pleased to see my creations reaching a wider audience in the digital realm. However, my joy quickly turned to dismay when I realised that my work had been appropriated and monetised without proper credit,’ Dilbar lamented.

The disputed song, titled ‘Beyì Sôey Boonìya, suìy shuhla gôch,’ is part of his 2004 Ghazal collection ‘Haarnìs Taapas Andar,’ featuring a foreword by esteemed writer Rahman Rahi. Dilbar intends to pursue legal recourse against Funkar International, a US-based NGO responsible for the alleged infringement.

According to Dilbar, Funkar International released an album of Kashmiri songs, composed and sung by Irfan and Bilal, without attributing credit to his composition. Despite this, the NGO has claimed copyright ownership over the entire album, prompting Dilbar to assert his rights through legal channels.

‘This blatant violation of Intellectual Property Rights cannot go unaddressed. I am prepared to take legal action to ensure justice is served,’ Dilbar declared.

Funkar International, founded by Kashmiri-American language activist Asmat Ashai in 1999, aimed to promote Kashmir’s cultural heritage, including folk music and cuisine. However, Dilbar accuses the NGO of attempting to disguise the theft by categorising his song as a ‘Lok Geet’ (folk song), thereby evading detection.

The incident underscores the importance of protecting intellectual property rights in the digital age, especially within the framework of international agreements such as the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. India, as a signatory to this agreement, has implemented robust policies to safeguard patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets since May 2016.

While this marks the first legal battle by a Kashmiri writer over intellectual property rights, experts warn that similar conflicts are not uncommon in the global audio streaming industry. Third-party acquisitions often occur without thorough verification of ownership, leaving artists vulnerable to exploitation.

Both Spotify, a Swedish audio streaming giant with a global presence, and JioSaavn, an Indian multilingual music streaming service boasting a library of 80 million songs in various regional languages, have been implicated in this controversy.

From a legal standpoint, Vakilsearch experts analyse Fayaz Dilbar’s case as raising concerns about potential intellectual property rights infringement, a complex issue in the digital era. The significance of artists protecting their creative works, especially in the context of music streaming platforms, is underscored by this incident. Intellectual property violations in the digital music industry are not uncommon, and addressing such matters requires vigilant legal action. Dilbar’s decision to pursue legal recourse against Funkar International serves as a proactive measure to uphold his rights and holds the potential to set a precedent for accountability in the digital music landscape. Vakilsearch expresses its readiness to provide legal assistance to artists facing similar challenges, offering expertise in copyright protection, licensing agreements, and legal remedies to navigate the intricate terrain of intellectual property disputes. Our team of expert IP lawyers can provide full on support in copyright registration and infringement.

Akash G Varadaraj