Kashmir’s eminent poet, playwright and songwriter Fayaz Dilbar
Kashmir’s eminent poet, playwright and songwriter Fayaz Dilbar

SRINAGAR — Kashmir’s eminent poet, playwright and songwriter Fayaz Dilbar had a mixed feeling of shock and excitement when he found his lyrics on Spotify and JioSaavn.

“I was glad that my work has found its way into the digital marketplace but the excitement turned into shock when I discovered that my work has actually been stolen and sold without my permission and due credits,” says Dilbar, whose body of work includes filmmaking, fiction writing and theatre besides poetry, in a statement to the news agency KNO.

The aggrieved poet is mulling legal action against a US-based NGO Funkar International, which according to him has picked up a famous song from his 2004 Ghazal collection “Haarnìs Taapas Andar” that had the foreword written by Jnanpith awardee Rahman Rahi.

“Funkar International has produced an album of Kashmiri songs. Irfan and Bilal have composed and sung them. But the album includes my song ‘Beyì Sôey Boonìya, Suìy Shuhla Gôch’ without any credits. Ironically, the copyright of the album’s entire contents has been reserved with the NGO. That’s a violation of Intellectual Property Rights. I will move court and serve them the notice,” Dilbar asserted.

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A Kashmiri-American language activist Asmat Ashai founded Funkar International in 1999 with an aim to promote Kashmir’s folk music, cuisine and other conventional art forms.

Fayaz Dilbar noted that the album, in order to hide the theft, doesn’t feature the lyrics of his song while the lyrics of all other eleven songs are featured on the cover. “What makes this theft more injurious is that they have dubbed my song as a Lok Geet (folksong). This has been done so that the violation goes unnoticed.”

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India is a signatory to the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The government of India adopted the IPR policy in May 2016. The policy protects the patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets.

Although it’s for the first time a Kashmiri writer will be fighting a legal battle for his intellectual property, experts believe that global audio streaming companies are often trapped in such battles because the third-party purchases are done without verifying the ownership of a particular work.

Spotify is a Swedish audio streaming and media service provider that has digital operations around the world while JioSaavn is an Indian multilingual music streaming service that houses 80 million songs in almost all of India’s spoken languages.

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