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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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May 11, 2005

Subcontinent Copyright Wars

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Fascinating article on the BBC regarding the copyright wars between India and Pakistan (How piracy is entrenched in Pakistan). Turns out that Pakistan is cracking down on copyright infringement of Western movies, but not on movies from India:

"I am sure that at some level, allowing piracy of Indian films was considered a smart act of industrial sabotage by the Pakistani policy makers," says Ameed Riaz, the head of EMI Pakistan.

"Basically, anything that hurt India was considered kosher."

It is no coincidence that the first - little noticed - copyright law adopted in Pakistan in 1962 expressly stated that it did not cover Indian intellectual property.

However, the effect, it seems, was to entrench Bollywood even further in Pakistani culture:
Not just that: Pakistan's fashion and modelling industry has come to be deeply dependent on the Indian film culture.

Event management companies in Karachi that organise weddings for the affluent say that many brides want the wedding stage to resemble a set from a particular movie.

The wedding set from Indian diva Aishwarya Rai's film, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, was replicated at so many weddings in Karachi that it became a joke.

Street jargon employed by Bollywood crime characters has become every Pakistani parent's nightmare. Even the mullah in the mosque - if he wants to be popular with his audience - will base his religious anthems on popular Indian film music tunes.

Very interesting.

via Hit and Run

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Culture


COMMENTS

1. Aamir Ali on May 11, 2005 12:43 PM writes...

Bollywood and Indian media is a source of entertainment for Pakistanis. However this reporters has made up some stuff like clerics using bollywood tunes for sermons! hhahahahahh that is rubbish.

Permalink to Comment

2. Mary Freeman on May 11, 2005 3:50 PM writes...

Replying first to Aamir Ali first, I think what is said is that the sermons will be BASED upon film tunes, not using them FOR sermons: that indeed would be rubbish! But the content of film tunes is a great source for sermons, from ideas, to themes, to phrases which may indeed underscore or repeat religious truths the mullah wants to convey to his audience, not literally but by metaphor and allusion.

The second thing I wanted to say was that here we are observing the creative use of piracy, whether it was intended to be so or merely arrived as a by-product of that piracy. Media drama invades even the sanctity of the marriage ritual (at least for the affluent): what can be more inevitable? If this is to happen more and more (more Pakistani brides want Indian pop culture for wedding backdrops and more mullahs find their metaphors in the same place) than what must happen as piracy increases? Movies (pirated or native) must raise their standards to compete with each other. Will sordid exhibitionism win out in the end? I doubt it. The Pakistani government will delelop the Baliwood equivalent of the "rated" pirated product (X, PG, etc.) to calm the nerves of irate parents.

Permalink to Comment

3. Ahsan Hussain on May 12, 2005 4:32 AM writes...

The writer has exaggerated claims of the Indian film culture being deeply entrenched in Pakistani society. I have lived in Pakistan for the better part of 23 years of my existence and I have not found a great influence of indian films on our society. On the other hand, what I find interesting is that Pakistani Pop and Rock bands such as Junoon, Strings, Atif Aslam, Aaroh, EP, Abrar-ul-Haq, Nazia Hassan et al are hugely popular in India. The recent trend of Pakistanis singers composing music for Indian films is only going to grow exponentially.

Permalink to Comment

4. Tony Onne on May 12, 2005 7:32 AM writes...

I am sorry but I simply don't agree with Mary Freeman. The clerics will be open to riddicule by the masses, when infact there desire is to make people abstain from anything considered deviant to religion.
Bollywood or any entertainment, which includes singing and half clad dressed female dancing will not qualify as training material on how to increase numbers attending prayers!
People should be more subjective with such articles, as the author can and in this case overplays a particular point in his/her message.

Permalink to Comment

5. Copyright treaties on May 15, 2005 10:31 AM writes...

The story suggests that the "copyright" relation between Pakistan and India is no diffent than say, a developed copuntry and an undeveloped country.

As an example: An dress maker from a Esurpean country visiting Africa sees a beautiful dress in a store owned by the African dressmaker and buys it for 3 dollars. Then back home, the European dressmaker manufacturer shows of the dress and starts to sell them for 3 thousand dollars, passing off the dress as an original design. He does not know if the design of the dress he purchase in Africa is in the public domain (in the African contry) or if the African dress maker actually plagiarized the dress design from another dress maker or if the African country has a copyright law that by treaty must be respected in the "western" country of the dressmaker who himself knows little or nothing about the copyright laws in his country (who does?).

True, we are talking about "western " concepts and ideas about intellectual property that make no sense in Africa even though the African contries may have adopted "western" copyright laws under the pressure of "no copyright law, no trade, no credit, no arms" threats.

Actually inter-country copyright traties make no sense after and are unworkable in most cases. They are just fantasies in the minds of some politicians and bureaucrats.

Permalink to Comment

6. Iran rug copyrights-Absurd on May 22, 2005 7:39 AM writes...


mehrnews.com has this story of May 20, 2005:

"Iran’s handwoven rugs, carpets to enjoy copyright law" The story states: The head of Iran’s National Carpet Center stated, “There has been a request presented to the minister of commerce in order to stop worldwide design and color imitation of Iran’s rugs and carpets in general and exported ones in particular.”

This story shows how copyright law concepts are being used to "protect" products produced by the common people of non industrialized countries.

And who will benefit from this "protection"? The importers of the rugs in France, USA, Britain, etc ., if they are sucessful in setting up a monopoly cartel for imported rugs as has been done in the music and other industries through copyrights laws. Certainly not the common, tribal people of Iran who do the actual toiling for a pittance and who have never heard the word "copyright".

Here we go again.... another unworkable copyright mess. Now no one will be able to use Iranian rugs in public places without a license from the copyright owner?

Rafael Venegas
http://www.gvenegas.com

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