Aga Khan wins copyright infringement appeal
By Salim Jiwa
VANCOUVER – Two men who challenged an earlier federal court ruling that they had infringed the Aga Khan’s copyright by publishing an unauthorized book of his works have lost a bid to toss out the judgment. (See copy of judgment below)
Nagib Tajdin, a Kenya-based bakery operator, and Alnaz Jiwa, a Toronto lawyer, had filed a challenge to a 2011 ruling by the Federal Court of Canada that they had violated the Aga Khan’s rights by publishing a book known as the Golden Edition. The illegal book contained hundreds of pages of written and spoken directives and speeches of the Aga Khan to his followers. Such pronouncements made by the spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims are known as ‘Farmans’ and ‘Talikas.’
Tajdin and Jiwa had filed the appeal claiming, among other things, that a usurper had filed the court action against them and that they had either express or implied permission from the Aga Khan based on a 1992 religious event.
The Federal Court of Appeal issued the judgment on Tuesday. Three appeal court Justices unanimously concurred they found no grounds to set aside the infringement judgment issued by Justice Harrington of the Federal Court.
Millions of his followers have already heard directly from the Aga Khan that he has not authorized anyone to publish his works.
In tossing out the appeal filed by Tajdin and Jiwa, Justice Johanne Gauthier stated: “I am satisfied that having concluded that there are no facts capable of constituting consent, one can only infer that the publication by Mr. Tajdin and Mr. Jiwa of the Golden Edition was done without the consent of the Aga Khan.”
Justices Marc Nadon and Karen Sharlow concurred with the findings made by Justice Madame Gauthier.
The federal appeal court also awarded costs to the Aga Khan.
It is expected that the two men – who claim they are devoted followers of the Aga Khan – will now have to account for the number of books that they had offered for sale on the Internet.