Kashmiri Poet’s Shocking Revelation: My Lyrics Stolen by US NGO Funkar International

Kashmir’s celebrated poet, playwright, and songwriter Fayaz Dilbar experienced a whirlwind of emotions upon discovering his lyrics on platforms like Spotify and JioSaavn. Initially elated to see his creations embraced in the digital realm, Dilbar’s joy quickly turned to dismay upon realizing that his work had been appropriated without his consent or proper recognition.

Expressing his frustration, Dilbar, whose artistic repertoire spans across filmmaking, fiction, theatre, and poetry, recounted his encounter with a US-based NGO, Funkar International. This organization had included one of his renowned songs from his 2004 Ghazal collection, “Haarnìs Taapas Andar,” without attributing it to him. This particular song, “Beyì Sôey Boonìya, suìy shuhla gôch,” lacked due credits, despite the album bearing the NGO’s copyright claim.

Determined to seek justice for this infringement of his Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Dilbar is contemplating legal action against Funkar International. He highlighted the irony of his song being mislabeled as a Lok Geet (folksong) within the album, a deliberate attempt, he believes, to obscure the theft.

Founded by Kashmiri-American language activist Asmat Ashai in 1999, Funkar International purportedly aims to promote Kashmir’s cultural heritage, including its folk music and cuisine. However, Dilbar’s ordeal underscores a glaring oversight in ensuring proper attribution and respect for creators’ rights.

With India being a signatory to the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and having adopted an IPR policy in May 2016, Dilbar’s case brings to light the imperative of upholding copyright laws in the digital age.

While this marks the first instance of a Kashmiri artist embarking on a legal battle for intellectual property rights, it sheds light on broader challenges faced by global audio streaming companies. Often, these platforms unwittingly host content acquired from third parties without sufficient verification of ownership.

The incident serves as a reminder of the responsibility borne by digital platforms like Spotify and JioSaavn in safeguarding creators’ rights while providing access to a vast array of cultural content. As Spotify operates worldwide and JioSaavn caters to a diverse Indian audience with its multilingual music streaming service, ensuring the integrity of artistic works remains paramount in the digital landscape.

One thought on “Kashmiri Poet’s Shocking Revelation: My Lyrics Stolen by US NGO Funkar International

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