Global Music Junction Pvt. Ltd vs Annapurna Films Pvt. Ltd., & Ors
On 6 January 2023, the Delhi High Court heard the copyright infringement lawsuit of Global Music Junction Pvt Ltd (“Plaintiff”) against Annapurna Films Pvt Ltd and others (“Defendants”). The court was presided over by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Amit Bansal.
Background of the Case
Global Music Junction Pvt Ltd is a production and distribution company for music and entertainment content. They had entered into an agreement with Keshari Lal Yadav, a famous singer from the Hindi film industry, to create 200 songs with exclusive rights to the Plaintiff. Subsequently, an addendum agreement was made that suspended the exclusive rights of the plaintiff but gave them a right of first refusal if any third party wanted to use Lal’s works. This agreement was later terminated by Lal himself resulting in this suit for copyright infringement being brought forward by Global Music Junction against Annapurna Films and various media channels on YouTube LLC’s platform that were using the songs created by Lal under their own name without permission or authorization from Global Music Junction Pvt Ltd.
Contentions From Both Sides
Plaintiff argued that this was a commercial contract and as such, it should be held valid and enforceable. Furthermore, they asserted that their claim was not one of specific performance but rather an infringement of their copyright since they had been given exclusive rights over all material produced under the agreement prior to its termination by Lal.
In response, Lal contended that he was free to enter into agreements with other third parties as the exclusivity clause and right of first refusal clause had been suspended after signing the addendum agreement. He further argued that since personal qualities were so closely linked to this contract it cannot be enforced by law upon either party after trust has been lost between them both regardless of whether either party terminated it first or not.
The court deemed this case as one for specific performance rather than copyright infringement as it required execution based on personal qualities like trust between parties which cannot be enforced upon someone once it has been lost between them both regardless of who initiated it first or not as such statements are subjective in nature. The court further observed that while Global Music Junction held exclusive rights over all material produced under the original agreement before its termination they could not hold these same rights over material yet to be created since those works do not yet exist thus making claims for copyright protection moot in regards to those future works albeit only until created at which point they would acquire copyright protection depending on the assignment of such rights from whichever creator holds them upon completion. Moreover, due to their ability to claim damages within their current case itself along with lack of balance in favourability for granting injunction; no injunctive relief will be granted herewith in favour of Global Music Junction Pvt Ltd
The Delhi High Court upheld its ruling in favour of Keshari Lal Yadav and others defendants in this case where Global Music Junction alleged breach of contract and infringement of copyright due to termination by Lal before completion along with delivery and usage by unauthorized persons without permission/authorization from GMJ itself despite having received exclusive rights prior thereto until suspension thereof.