- NIPO finds ‘Naadha Gama’ organisers violated creator rights, compensations to be paid
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
The National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) has issued an order against the organisers of the “Naadha Gama” musical event on charges of the continuous and blatant violation of intellectual property rights of Charitha Attalage and lyricist Chandrasena Thalangama.
The organisers of Naadha Gama have had singers Ridma Weerawardena and Supun Perera to perform at its shows in Sri Lanka and abroad, using songs created by Charitha Attalage and Chandrasena Thalangama.
“Naadha Gama” is a concert series that brings together contemporary artists and music, and is held in a unique setting.
According to Prof. Rahula Attalage, who acts as Charitha Attalage’s manager, the first step they took to address the situation was issuing a letter of demand to the organisers on 4 October 2019, requesting that they refrain from any form of public performance or broadcast of the song. This was the initial process for legal action, but since the organisers did not stop using the song in their concerts, the team decided to go to NIPO and obtain its assistance through a dispute resolution.
NIPO informed the organisers to furnish observations as required by the provisions of Section 22(3) of the Intellectual Property Act, No. 36 of 2003 of Sri Lanka and the regulation published in Gazette No. 1415/18.
NIPO then carried out an inquiry, inviting both parties to present their case. “After several hearings, NIPO made a decision against the ‘Naadha Gama’ organisers and issued an order indicating that they had violated the intellectual property rights of Charitha Attalage and Chandrasena Thalangama,” Prof. Attalage told The Morning Brunch.
The NIPO order also states that the organisers must pay compensation to the creators of the song in view of the economic benefits gained through their events.
The aggrieved parties stated that what is important is the message they are aiming to send through the matter. Prof. Attalage explained that irrespective of the event, there must be an understanding that song rights internationally lie with the music creator and the lyricist, as the singer is “employed” by them to take this message to the general public.
“The singer has certain rights called related rights, but all the authorial or copyrights are with the creators for a period of 70 years, within which time, the rights are handed over to the next generation in the event of their passing.”
He stressed the importance of respecting the creator. “We want to be very clear about the principle, and set up a culture where we respect creators, whether it is in music, literature, inventions, software, etc.,” Prof. Attalage added.
Speaking to The Morning Brunch, NIPO Information Officer and Director – Legal H.S. Hettihelage explained that NIPO does not follow up on the matter once an order is issued. This applies to all types of orders issued by the office.
“Once the order is issued, if a party does not agree to the order, or if they want to enforce the order, they have to go to high court, because NIPO does not have the provisions under the Intellectual Property Act to enforce an order,” Hettihelage said.