Wednesday, August 17, 2011


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WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 17, 2011 – A federal copyright infringement lawsuit was filed today on behalf of award-winning composer and pianist Malek Jandali. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., alleges that the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) illegally played an audio recording of Jandali’s performance of  “Watani Ana” at its national convention on June 11, 2011.

The lawsuit claims the recording was played without Jandali’s authorization or consent, and after the ADC revoked his invitation to perform at the event.

“We are confident that we have a solid copyright infringement case,”
said Stuart P. Ross, a partner with Troutman Sanders LLP, the law firm representing Jandali.

In April 2011, Jandali composed the music and the lyrics for “Watani Ana,” which translates to “I am my homeland” in Arabic. He produced and released the song as a universal call for freedom, dignity and human rights. The ADC then invited Jandali to perform at the June event.

But as Politico previously reported, “The ADC, a Washington civil rights group, repeatedly asked Malek Jandali to reconsider his piece choice . . . When he refused, Jandali was told that he couldn't perform at this weekend's event. Observers immediately speculated that the organization wanted to avoid offending the embattled Syrian regime, drawing a chorus of criticism.”

Jandali said that after ADC revoked his invitation, “it was profoundly disturbing to me that they still played ‘Watani Ana’ without my permission.”

“Despite this, I then offered an olive branch to resolve the matter amicably by requesting an apology and a donation to the Societies of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent,” Jandali said.  “I did not ask for one penny for myself.  ADC swiftly refused to issue an apology and instead offered me $46.80 to go away. This is very offensive to me as an American citizen and an artist with rights.”

Jandali stressed that he is not against the “noble mission” of ADC, “but I cannot accept a violation of my rights, especially by an anti-discrimination group and when certain board members hijack an entire organization to suit their special interest.”

Michael Hobbs, Jr., a Troutman Sanders attorney who also represents Jandali, said the law firm reached out directly to the ADC several times in an attempt to amicably resolve the matter, but was rebuffed.

“The only alternative with which we are left is to litigate," Hobbs said.

Malek Jandali is an internationally renowned composer and pianist who has appeared as a soloist in performances around the world.  Mr.
Jandali is the first Syrian and the only Arab musician to arrange music based on the oldest music notation in the world, which was discovered in the Bronze city of Ugarit, Syria. The album titled “Echoes from Ugarit” includes original compositions for piano and orchestra recorded with The Russian Philharmonic Orchestra in Moscow.

The Troutman Sanders LLP Media and Entertainment practice group assists clients with the complex and rapidly changing issues facing the media, entertainment and sports industries. Troutman Sanders lawyers in this area provide sophisticated legal services to businesses, artists, investors, lenders and other clients that participate in the multimedia marketplace.

Michael Hobbs, Jr.
Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP