March 2009
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Indian Politician Wants “Slumdog” Song to be Public Property... (so he can use it in his campaign)

“Anyone should be able to use the song. ‘Jai Ho’ should not belong to any one; it belongs to the country,” claims Atul Shah, an Indian politician who is seeking election (source). The song, from the film “Slumdog Millionaire,” won this year’s Academy Award for Best Song. Even if it had not, its title, which translates to “Be Victorious,” would work quite well in campaign ads or at rallies. Unfortunately for Mr. Shah, his political opponents have already secured the exclusive rights for those uses from the owner of the intellectual property. His solution: End Intellectual Property Rights Now!

On another note, it is hard to ignore the irony in this situation. Many credit the incumbent party – the ones that Mr. Shah hopes to defeat – with the poverty portrayed in the film. One opposition party member, Nanendra Modi, is quoted as saying that, “[i]f it were not for Congress misrule for the last 60 years, there would be no slums and then no slumdog (film) and no Oscar.” If “Slumdog” was intended to be some kind of protest or criticism, why would its producers agree to license the song to those responsible for their outrage? I guess they must not be too worried about street cred.

This story was originally published on The Legal Satyricon.

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