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Gunga Gana Goes to Court

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Chutney bacchanal over ‘Gunga Gana’ by Carolyn Kissoon May 23, 2019
Traditional chutney singer, Hemlata Dindial is being sued.

Chutney singer Hemlata Dindial is seeking clarification on the copyright laws of Trinidad and Tobago, in the face of legal action against her by another chutney sin­ger.

Dindial, through her attorney, Sunil Rishi Nowbutt, has written to president of the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) John Arnold on the issue.

The letter said Dindial was seeking clarification on the matter between herself and singer Dubraj Persad, who is alleging Dindial is in breach of Sections (8) and (26) (1) of the Copyright Act of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dindial was served with a pre-action protocol letter last week, alleging illegal reproduction of original melody containing key words and phrases.

The letter said Persad was the original author, composer and singer of the hit chutney song “Gunga Gana”, released in April 2019.

It further said in May, Dindial launched a song “Gana Gunga”, which carried the “identical melody” of Persad’s song.

Dindial was also instructed to remove her song from the airwaves and/or radio sta­tions and desist from performing the same at any shows or events.

However, Nowbutt said the allegations being made were baseless in fact and in law.

He said at the release of her song, Dindial gave credit to the original author of the song live on air.

She also said “her song was all about love, more specifically, her love for music, and she recorded her song with a heart full of love”.

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Nowbutt said it was brought to his attention that Persad, through his attorneys, wrote to all of the East Indian radio stations in Trinidad and Tobago, alleging copyright infringements by Dindial.

Nowbutt said the act does not prevent anyone from recording and/or performing covers of another person’s recordings/music, provided that the person recording and/or performing a cover of a recording which he/she is not the original author must credit the original creator of the music in his recording and/or performance.

He said Dindial’s song was written by her sister Rasika Dindial and consists of an “original idea, creative work and contains completely different words” to Persad’s song, with the exception of four “common words”.

Also, he said, the meaning of both songs was different. The beat and musical arrangement of the songs also varied, he said.

Nowbutt said his client had not in any way affected the airplay or potential income earnings by Persad.

He said both singers have been advertised to perform side by side at many events, including an upcoming boat cruise and tour.

Source:Chutney bacchanal over ‘Gunga Gana’

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