Plagiarism is a serious issue in any entertainment industry. In Pakistan, it has always been a heated topic considering our history with Indian cinema plagiarizing our content.
Whether it’s a shot-by-shot copy of our music video or outright ripping off plotlines from our movies, Bollywood has done it all. The examples are endless. So, we are bound to be on edge when it comes to this issue.
The latest case is the song ‘BIBA’ by Farasat Anees. The song came out over 2 years ago and was recently featured on the ‘Joyland’ soundtrack. Last week, famous Indian label T-Series released a song with a similar title and all hell broke loose.
What Went Down
Following the release of the song, Farasat took to Instagram stories and said, “So f-ked up of T-series for copying my track ‘Biba’. We coming your way, hang on tight.” He also wrote, “I mean what else can we expect from a world-famous label like T-Series. Such a disgrace.”
He also alleged that the label “clearly stole chords, intro, arrangements of our version,” and called it a “clear theft”. T-Series has yet to make any comment.
The music video credits Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lijo George – DJ Chetas and Farrukh Ali Khan for the music. Anees or any of his collaborators were not credited in any capacity. However, it should be noted that ‘Biba Sada Dil Mor Dey’ was originally composed and sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who is credited in the T-Series video.
Support started pouring in from his Indian fan base with the comments section for both versions flooded with support for Farasat. For which he thanked his fans on Twitter.
Actress Saba Qamar also took to Instagram stories to condemn T-Series in a show of support.
A Legal Quandary Surrounding BIBA
So, while emotions are high, and everyone is up in arms it’s easy to get carried away sometimes over accusations that ended up being misinformed and misplaced anger.
Just a while ago back in 2021, an uproar was caused on social media when Umair Jaswal accused singer Dhvani Bhanushali of plagiarism in her song ‘Mehendi.’ The song according to him copied heavily from his song ‘Gagar.’ Galaxy Lollywood covered it back when this happened.
The truth, however, turned out to be something completely different. Turns out that the similarities in Dhvani’s song were not due to plagiarism but because it is a classic folk song. A clip resurfaced of Lata Mangeshkar singing the same song from long before even Alamgir came out with his version.
Folk songs happen to be public domain and not usually owned by any single artist or record label, so no plagiarism occurred and this whole fiasco ended up being a bunch of hoopla.
Another similar incident occured last year when the Bollywood film ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’ remade Abrar-ul-Haq’s iconic song ‘Nach Punjaban.’ The singer slammed the filmmakers for this act and big names in our industry also showed their support by condemning the film.
The filmmakers responded, which set the record straight that they had legally acquired the rights to adapt Abrar’s song via his record label. Record labels are the ones that own songs rather than artists themselves, and it is within their legal rights to allow anyone to adapt them.
So, this rendered the outrage useless considering no actual theft was committed. Galaxy Lollywood followed the entire timeline of this story here.
Lack Of Transparency
The jury is still out on this case with Farasat Anees’ song but our history with dubious claims of plagiarism should teach us a lesson. The real problem here is a lack of transparency. Everything about our entertainment industry has a level of obscurity.
Our box office numbers are still heavily fabricated with no real way of authenticating them. Meanwhile in Hollywood you can listen to live investor calls for major entertainment companies and watch major court hearings live as well. Important legal information about films is also available online for anyone to read.
In Pakistan there’s a lack of information and understanding of these topics which leads to our tendency to create fake narratives. The ethics of the situation get muddled up with its legality.
Hopefully T-Series will release an official statement soon and set the record straight. Galaxy Lollywood will be following this story very closely.