Copyright Lawsuit: Expert says Notarized Affirmation is a FAKE! - 2010-06-22
Breaking their silence of more than a month following the wide circulation of the Notarized Affirmation purported to have been signed in Boston by H.H. the Aga Khan, Defendants have disclosed their findings that the Affirmation is fake and they have therefore swiftly filed a Motion for Summary Judgment to be heard on July 12th 2010 at the Federal Court of Canada. The Motion says: "The activities complained of are not infringing the rights of the Aga Khan, who it appears from the forged signatures, has not authorized this action.
The defendants are seeking to have the action dismissed as well on the grounds that they undertook the distribution of the Farman books after receiving the Aga Khan’s instructions and blessings in August 1992, and any activity undertaken with the copyright holder’s consent, even if orally given, is not an infringement of the copyright law.
The Statement of Claim for copyright infringement purported to be from the Aga Khan against two of his followers was filed at the Federal Court early April 2010. It was based, according to one defendant, on a precursor letter dated 24th of January 2010 sent from the secretariat of the Aga Khan to him asking the defendant Tajdin to recall all the "Farman" books published under the "Golden Edition" title on the birthday of the Imam in December 2009.
Farmans are religious pronouncements believed to come from The Light of God [Noor] in the Ismaili tradition as defined by the Imam himself. They cover all aspects of spiritual and material life of the followers. Defendants Jiwa and Tajdin say they were never warned by The Aga Khan to stop publication and distributions of the Farman books. The Defendants exposed the forgery of the signature in the letter purported to be from the Imam in their Statements of Defense.
The plaintiff represented by the renowned firm Ogilvy Renault filed a reply to the defenses - after requesting an extension of 15 days to file their reply - based on the content of a Notarized Affirmation signed in Boston on May 12th 2010. The Affirmation stated that the Imam had given instructions for the Lawsuit as well as for the announcements in all the Jamatkhanas [religious places of worship for the followers], it reaffirmed that the Imam had himself signed himself the letters THEN proven by TWO forensic examiners to have been forged.
The Affirmation was widely circulated on the Internet by the Plaintiff's lawyer Mr Brian Gray although it was not filed in Court. Last week, Counsel for Plaintiff filed an amended reply to the defense correcting a few typos – thus obtaining a 30 day extension for serving their affidavit of documents which was to be served by june 25, 2010, as per the court rules. Why the action continues to be delayed by the plaintiff is a mystery, and it appears that the defendants wish to resolve this case as soon as possible; as a result, the defendants are moving ahead with a motion for summary judgment.
The defendants themselves, surprisingly, have now introduced in court the Notarized Affirmation, dated May 12th 2010 as an Exhibit with the defendants' affidavits, along with an expert’s report that states that the Aga Khan did not sign the affirmation.
In an email reply to a question by Heritage News, Tajdin said that the defendants were "tipped-off" by someone working closely with the Aga Khan's Secretariat in Aiglemont, only days after the signing of the Affirmation, about a possibility of foul play in the authenticity of the Notarized document,
The Counsel for Plaintiff reluctantly released, for a limited number of days, the orginal affirmation for verification to defendant Jiwa. Counsel for plaintiff also declined twice to provide address and contact information for the Notary and the people who witnessed the signature of the Affirmation. The defendants are not surprised at the refusal to be provided this vital information in light of the expert’s finding that the Aga Khan did not sign the affirmation.
The defendants have now lodged, at the Federal Court, evidence proving that the notarized document is a fake. They write in their Affidavit and Motion: "All four expert-reports by three different experts have confirmed that the signatures purporting to be that of the Aga Khan were forged signatures. To date, no real signature of the Aga Khan, the named Plaintiff, can be seen on any document related to this lawsuit."
The defendants are maintaining that the book in question was published with the authorization and blessing of the Aga Khan. They have filed a sworn first-hand Affidavit describing the acceptance by the Aga Khan of the publication of the Farman book in August of 1992 , who not only gave them his blessings, but also gave instructions to continue the work. Tajdin states in his affidavit that he commenced distributing the Farman books after the blessings and instructions received from the Imam, and has since continued publishing Farman books.
According to Copyright laws, a verbal consent for publication can be cancelled anytime by the rightful owner of the work, but it can not be cancelled retroactively. The defendants have re-affirmed in their affidavit, in no uncertain terms, their willingness to abide immediately to all direct instructions, if received from the Imam, regardless of the legal aspect of the lawsuit.
The defendants also state that to date there is no credible evidence that the Aga Khan has authorized this action. They note that the claim was not served on Tajdin for almost a month after filing, the signatures were forged, vital information was withheld from Tajdin, and proceedings were delayed; such matters simply convince the defendants that their suspicions have substantial merit and they are confident that the action will be dismissed.
The Defendants are confident they will be successful in proving in Court their Motion as well as the forgeries in the Affirmation and in letters purported to have been signed by the Aga Khan. They believe, with the discovery of the repeated forgeries, the whole claim of copyright infringement has collapsed like a house of cards. This has now paved the way for a strong defamation lawsuit and possible criminal case for forgery in any or all of the 4 countries involved.