Ali Sethi to take down 'stolen' cover art from Spotify post copyright claim

After an artist accused him of using his artwork without permission, Sethi provided an underwhelming explanation.


Asfa Sultan October 15, 2021

KARACHI:

Ali Sethi’s career is decked with splashes of indigenous representation, splendored with memorable music videos and attempts to revitalise the ghazal genre, shatter gender norms and revive past glory with renewed classics. But who would’ve thought it would also be chequered and now tainted by allegations of ‘theft’?

Ali Hyder, an artist and fan of Sethi, recently took to his Instagram to share how his artwork had been ‘stolen’ by the very man he looked up to. Disappointed by the same, some of Sethi’s fans are also calling him out on Twitter.

“Just found out Ali Sethi has used my digital painting as the cover for his single on Spotify without asking for my permission?” asked Hyder, who thought his painting had been shared a couple of days ago. But it turns out Sethi had been using it as a cover art for his popular song Chan Kithan on Spotify since two and a half years now.

When reached out for a clarification regarding the matter, Sethi told The Express Tribune himself, “This is the first time we are hearing from the artist, two and a half years after the image was uploaded to Spotify.” He added, “At the time of upload, we credited the artist by name but couldn’t locate their Instagram handle to seek permission.” Sethi assured his team is “removing the image right away.”

However, the artist is not satisfied with the explanation and has therefore, decided to make an official complaint on Spotify. To be fair, it makes no sense for an artist to pick up another artist’s work without having attained their consent first. “Yes, I aired my concerns publicly now because I thought it was posted three days ago. But after discovering it’s been uploaded since almost three years now, I’m all the more disappointed,” Hyder lamented.

“I don’t buy it. How could they not have 'located’ me online when I shared the painting on my Twitter in 2018, tagging Mira Sethi, who acknowledged it there and then? Not being able to find me on Instagram doesn’t cut it,” added Hyder, who would’ve been more than happy to lend his artwork since it was made out of love for the Sethis and Chan Kithan.

Perplexed by the second hand embarrassment Sethi’s justification had instigated, Hyder continued, “I’m a professional artist, sitting in my studio right now, working on a commissioned painting. Let’s say they genuinely could not locate me or knew who I was, let’s say I never tagged Mira and the channel they received that painting from was not Twitter, how could they still feel entitled to just pick it up?” he asked, and rightfully so.

He went on to point out, "My name was also carefully cropped out of the artwork before uploading and what else could be the purpose for doing that if not stealing?" The ‘stolen’ cover for Chan Kithan was not removed till the filing of this report, albeit, it takes at least 48 hours or more for any artwork to be replaced or removed from the music streaming platform since the aggregator responsible for uploading it may cause delay.

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