Delhi High Court to examine copyright violation claim against AR Rahman.

Last Updated: 20-10-2023 08:04:34pm
Delhi High Court to examine copyright violation claim against AR Rahman.

The Delhi High Court has issued an order to music composer AR Rahman, instructing him to provide the raw recording of the song 'Veera Raja Veera' from Ponniyin Selvan Part-2. This comes after Indian classical singer Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar filed a copyright infringement suit against Rahman. Dagar, who is a recipient of the Padma Shri award, alleged that the composition of 'Veera Raja Veera' was copied from the song 'Shiva Stuti', composed by his father Nasir Faiyazuddin Dagar and uncle Zahiruddin Dagar. Dagar is seeking credit for his family's composition whenever the song is played on any platform.

During the court proceedings, Justice Prathiba M Singh listened to both songs and noted that there was a certain similarity in the beat and rhythm. The counsel representing Rahman was instructed by Justice Singh to provide the raw recording of the song without any embellishments or computer-generated elements.

The court clarified that it did not want to make any observations at this stage but Rahman would need to respond to the allegations made by Dagar. Justice Singh stated that Dagar had presented a chart consisting of notations and beat to establish the infringement, and Rahman would be required to address these claims.

In his suit, Dagar asserted that he holds the rights to all compositions by his father and uncle. He emphasized that he is a descendant of the Dhrupad vocalists from the Dagar Gharana, known for their unique style of singing called the Dagar Vani, which is rooted in Dhrupad classical music.

The controversy revolves around the song 'Shiva Stuti', one of the earliest compositions by Dagar's father and uncle, which was sung in the 1970s.

The performance of the song mentioned in the prompt was carried out by Dagar's father and uncle in various international concerts, including one at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam on June 22, 1978. This particular performance was also featured in the album Shiva Mahadeva by the Dagar Brothers, as informed to the Court. Dagar further asserted that the Veera Raja Veera song was based on the Shiva Stuti composition, for which he holds the rights. Consequently, he requested the Court to grant an injunction against Rahman, Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions (the production companies involved), as well as the music record label Tips Industries.

During the proceedings, it was revealed that Rahman and Dagar had a brief telephonic conversation, during which Rahman assured Dagar that he would attempt to resolve the dispute. However, no further communication was received from Rahman. Rahman's counsel informed the Court that he would need to seek instructions before proceeding.

In response to a notice from Dagar, Madras Talkies disputed his claim of copyright infringement, stating that the song in question is a traditional song and that Dagar's motives were to earn money and gain publicity. Nevertheless, Madras Talkies expressed willingness to explore an amicable resolution.

Tips Industries, on the other hand, argued that no originality was claimed in the song and that the copyright cannot be attributed solely to the "manner of singing."

The Court has scheduled the next hearing for November 7. In the meantime, the defendants have been instructed to rectify a typographical error in the song credits on YouTube.

Advocates Neel Mason and Arjun Harkauli represented the plaintiff in this case.

TAGS: Delhi High Court AR Rahman Copyrights Act

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