Stolen lyrics: Copyrights infringement hearing fixed for Nov 13

Respondents earlier filed application saying it was a matter for tribunal

Fawad Ali November 11, 2015
Respondents earlier filed application saying it was a matter for tribunal. CREATIVE COMMONS

PESHAWAR: Prominent Pashto film actor and petition respondent Jehangir Khan told the court Sultan Mehmood Qalandar’s poem featured as a song in Pashto film Badnaam was censored by Central Board of Film Censors because it highlighted female beauty, wine and bars and had nothing in praise of God. The actor represented by his lawyer Mian Saifullah Kakakhel appeared before Civil Judge Muhammad Ishaq on Thursday. Earlier in the copyrights case, the plaintiff had claimed the song was in praise of God and its depiction in the movie was vulgar.

The proceedings

Jehangir pleaded ignorance when asked by the judge if he knew the original meaning of the poem. He stated he was merely an actor featuring in the song and had nothing to do with the poem. “The producer and musician should be asked these questions,” said Jehangir.

However, complainant Shah Mehmood in his reply claimed the certificate was obtained from the censor board by concealing fundamental facts. “The proprietorship was not explained to the board; therefore, the respondents cannot conceal my legal rights,” he added.

Earlier, the respondents had filed an application claiming the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case and should send it to the Intellectual Property Tribunal. However, the complainant submitted a written reply claiming the court had jurisdiction to hear it and the application should not be dismissed. He said respondents filed an application with the ulterior motive to harass, humiliate and waste the precious time of the court.

The judge adjourned the case till November 13.

The backdrop

Plaintiff Shah Mehmood filed a copyrights infringement suit with damages worth Rs20.05 million over the use of his father’s poetry. Shah Mehmood, son of poet Sultan Mehmood Qalandar, filed for damages in a case where seven people were accused of using his father’s poetry without his consent. The civil judge also took issue with the fact his father’s poetry was used in a song in the movie Badnaam.

According to Mehmood, his father had an association, Qalandar Pukhtu Adabi Jirga Badhaber, registered in his name and he held copyrights to his father’s poetry. “The respondent’s denial of my right to use and/or sell Qalandar’s poetry was illegal and unlawful,” he said.

The plaintiff said, one of his father’s poems, Pregda ma Pregda, was featured as a song in Pashto movie Badnaam, produced and directed by Nadar Shah. The movie was screened at Aaina Cinema, Khyber Bazaar.

He said he was hurt by the portrayal of the poem in an “obscene manner.” “The poem was written in praise of God while Shah had picturised it in an immoral manner, damaging my father’s prestige and reputation” he said.

He named Nadar Shah, singer Almas Khalil, the owner and manager of Aaina Cinema, actor Jehangir Khan, actor Gia Butt and Ziyad Studio musician Shakir Zeb as respondents.

The law

According to the Copyright Ordinance 1962, copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted to the owner for a limited time to protect the particular form, way or manner in which an idea or information is expressed.

Sections 18 to 23 of the ordinance lay down the copyright term in respect of different works. For example, the period of copyright of a published literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (other than a photograph) is the life of the author and 50 years after his death.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2015.


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