Copyright infringement: When money and ethics collide -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Copyright infringement: When money and ethics collide

EMI Pakistan and ARY Musik sort out a copyrights fiasco.

By Rafay Mahmood

KARACHI: While copyright laws in Pakistan seem to be easy to ignore, a recent copyright infringement was resolved with the mutual cooperation of record label EMI Pakistan and local channel ARY Musik.

The story began when ARY Musik aired and uploaded revamped versions of some of the most popular songs of the 90s on YouTube. Songs like “Keh Dena” by Alamgir; “Qarar” by Ali Haider; “Dil Mein Tum” by Bunny and “Aa Jana” by Najam Sheraz were reproduced with new videos featuring young models. The songs went viral on various social media sites, with fans celebrating the new renditions. However, it was recently revealed that the songs were redone without the permission of the artists or the record labels.

“I have no idea what cover songs you are talking about,” said Mohsin Raza Khan, popularly known as Bunny, when asked about the cover version of “Dil Mein Tum”. Later, after listening to the song, Bunny communicated with The Express Tribune through an email stating, “Yes I’ve seen the cover on ARY Digital and spoken to EMI about it. According to EMI they’ve temporarily pulled the song until this copyright business is sorted out.”

However, it seems that this is not something new for EMI as they has been looking into the incident since a month. “I saw these videos about a month ago and we’re working towards a solution with ARY Musik because three of these songs ‘Keh Dena’, ‘Dil Mein Tum’ and ‘Qarar’ are EMI’s property and we take our copyrights very seriously,” said Zeeshan Chaudhry, GM Marketing and Sales Strategy at EMI Pakistan.

When approached, ARY Musik initially seemed to be in a state of denial about copyright infringement. “Although we approached the concerned artists, we weren’t aware that we were required to approach the record label as well,” said Danish Khawaja, Senior Vice President of ARY Musik, ARY Zauq and ARY Films and Entertainment.

After learning about Bunny’s denial of any such requests, Khawaja remained a man of few words and said, “Although it’s a little late, we are working out a solution with EMI.”

Meanwhile, musician and producer Emu of Fuzon fame, who is the producer of all the mentioned cover songs, clarified that he has nothing to do with this issue. “It’s the responsibility of the music channel to get the copyrights from the record label and a producer has got nothing to do with it,” stated Emu.

Further elaborating on the matter he said, “I will be releasing Fuzon’s tribute album through my own record label (Emix records) and I have already sent a copyright requisition to EMI for all the songs that we have revamped in the album. It’s all a matter of following the principles and rules, and IÂ’m doing exactly that wherever I’m required to.”

Unlike many other issues that are never solved, this problem has fortunately had a satisfactory conclusion and despite the involvement of the two giants of Pakistan’s music industry, both sides have mutually agreed to follow the copyright rules without any legal complications.

In his last conversation with The Express Tribune, Khawaja admitted, “We just realised that EMI has the rights to almost all the music created in the 80s and 90s, and we have now mutually agreed on paying the required fee to the record label,” adding that ARY Musik and EMI records are now looking forward to future projects together.

Chaudhry of EMI further explained the details of the agreement. “ARY will now do what should have been done before — that is to pay the publicising and synchronisation fees of all three songs as per the copyright details mentioned in Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) of Pakistan”. He added that a music channel accepting its mistake and cooperating with a record label is a great sign for Pakistani music industry in general. “This will help people realise the importance of intellectual property rights in Pakistan and more importantly, it will give the artists a chance to trust the music industry once again,” he added.

It is commendable that finally the infringement of intellectual property rights is being questioned and looked at in Pakistan. However, only time will tell if EMI, or any other record label, will be able to enforce copyright laws properly in the country.
Source: The Express Tribune
Date:9/21/2011