Wed, 29 Mar 2000

Leading dangdut singer Rafiq demands Rp 1 billion royalties

JAKARTA (JP): Famous dangdut singer and composer A. Rafiq demanded on Tuesday Rp 1 billion from a recording company for pirating three of his best selling songs.

Rafiq told a hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court that record company Flower Sound had reproduced Aku atau Dia (Me or Him), Jangan Cemburu (Don't be Jealous) and Jangan Sakiti Hati Wanita (Don't Break Womens' Hearts) without his permission and therefore had paid him no royalties.

The three were among the 20 songs that appeared on an album titled Best of The Best Balada Dangdut A. Rafiq released by the recording company last year.

The album, which sold over 30,000 copies, was released without his permission, in spite of two contracts he signed with Flower Sound president Tony Librahim in 1989 and 1991, Rafiq said.

Under the agreements, the recording company was supposed to have paid Rafiq a fixed sum of money in advance, plus royalties for every song recorded and sold.

Rafiq said Tony had apologized over the matter and offered him some money. "But it was just too small an amount," he said, without disclosing the sum.

He recalled that parts of one of the contracts were left blank, but stressed that this was normal practice in the music business. "I believed him. Most artists do," he said.

Tony then filled in the blanks, which, contrary to their verbal agreement, stated that Rafiq had waived all claims to royalties.

Tony was not present at the court hearing.


Noted musician Chandra Darusman, who is also spokesman for the Indonesian Copyright Foundation (YKCI), in his testimony as an expert witness said the case was a violation of the copyright law.

Rafiq should be paid royalties by Flower Sound for the three songs, Chandra said.

But he also faulted Rafiq for signing a blank contract.

"There are have been cases when artists have not carefully read the contracts before signing them," he said.

He cited the case of Gesang, the legendary composer of keroncong music, who has not received a single rupiah in royalties for his famous Bengawan Solo song.

The court hearing was adjourned until April 11. (09)