Bollywood dancing to a "krazzy" new tune

One thing I don’t think we’ve talk enough about on SpicyIP is the other threat to the music industry. Not piracy which we’ve written so much about and you’ve probably read even more about but plagiarism.

Advertising jingle composer Ram Sampath has accused Rakesh Roshan (the producer) of using the songs “Break-Free” and the title track though the tunes are copied from his Sony Ericsson ad. The facts are a little fuzzy from here as The Hindu reports that the composer and the producer have reached a settlement after the Court ordered for the deletion of the two songs before the film release. However IBN Live reports that the Court has allowed the release of the movie (with or without the disputed songs is not specified) as long as Rs. 25 lakhs in damages are paid to the composer.

I will fill in the correct information when I get it but for now I just wanted to talk briefly about Bollywood and copyright violations. We’ve all seen films that have been lifted scene by scene from Hollywood movies. As well as heard songs lifted from the efforts of others – its widely talked about as well as written about though nobody does anything much about it. However this kind of laxity seems to be melting away with Bollywood’s growing up – this decision by the Madras High Court being a step in the right direction. I’m going to be reading and writing more about this, since I’m still thinking this over I would appreciate your opinions on the subject.


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4 thoughts on “Bollywood dancing to a "krazzy" new tune”

  1. Yasha, my first irrelevant comment-Ram Sampath is better known as the music director of “Khakee”. My memory key is Ash and Akki kumar swayin to the guy’s tunes for the song “Dil Dooba” and Lara Dutta doing the item number “Aisa Jadoo”.

  2. I think this is quite a historic event. Other than the Neha Bhasin case, in which one of the singers of the all-girl band Viva fame stood up to the established composer/music director Anand Raj Anand, I do not think a singer or a composer has actually challenged the biggies of the Indian music industry till now. I think all this will surely change in the near future. With production houses like Universal, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures setting up base in India, they are bound to take action against the Indian film-makers or music directors who try to copy their works released in Hollywood as well.

    This decision of the Bombay High Court (not the Madras High Court as pointed in the article) will go a long way in enforcing copyrights in the entertainment industry.

    Incidentally, Ram Sampath was also part of a 2-member band with Siddharth Achrekar called Colourblind in the past. The band came up with quite an amazing album called Colourblind but after that the two split.

  3. Do you think now the Producers of A Few Good Men, Columbia Pictures should come after the producers of Shaurya? Will be very interesting to watch the case. This case has thrown open lot of questions in the realm of copyright litigation itself. The borderline between plot appropriation and substantial copying, the use of expert witnesses and also who determines what has been copied, the Judge, the consumer, or the owner of copyright? In the present case it was Judge. But should Judge be the arbiter of creative inputs in a work or should it be the consumer or should it be an expert?

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