This running post provides a summary of the latest Copyright cases decided by courts in India in 2022:
Samir Kasal v. Prashant Mehta & Ors.
The Plaintiff conceptualized a cricket league format titled ‘Legends Premier League’ wherein famous retired cricket players would play a Test format of cricket. The details about the same were provided to Defendant No. 2 in a strictly confidential manner. However, the Defendants decided to organize ‘Legends League Cricket’ without the Plaintiff’s consent which led him to file this case.
The Plaintiff contended the Defendants’ acts were a breach of confidentiality. Additionally, the Plaintiff claimed that the idea conceptualized by them amounted to ‘work’ under Section 2(y) of the Copyright Act, 1957. Whereas, the Defendants No. 2 to 4 contended that the Plaintiff’s idea was neither original nor novel due to similar elements in prior cricket games that existed in the public domain. Additionally, the Defendants No. 2 to 4 claimed that infringement could not be claimed by the Plaintiff because the alleged ‘work’ was not ‘completed’. Lastly, the Defendant contended that there was no breach of confidentiality due to absence of a contract between the Plaintiff and Defendant No. 2.
The Court held that the Plaintiff’s idea did not amount to a ‘work’ under the Act because common elements of the same existed in the public domain for years thereby rendering the Plaintiff’s idea unoriginal. Additionally, the Court held that the conversations via emails and WhatsApp Messages were inconclusive in formation of a quasi-contract. Lastly, the Court opined that the obligation of confidentiality could not continue indefinitely thereby dismissing the Plaintiff’s claims with respect to breach of confidentiality. Thus, the Court concluded that the balance of convenience was in favour of the Defendants.
Citation: Samir Kasal v. Prashant Mehta & Ors., Decided by The Delhi High Court on 19th January, 2022, available at Samir Kasal v. Prashant Mehta & Ors., last visited on 22nd January, 2022.
M/s. Novex Communications Pvt. Ltd. … v. DXC Technology Pvt. Ltd.
The Common Plaintiff was in the business of protecting copyrights that subsist in sound recordings, in their capacity as an assignee, licensee or authorized agent. The Plaintiff claimed exclusive copyright to the extent of exploitation of the on-ground performance rights of various sound recordings on the basis of assignment agreements. The Defendants in both the suits contested that the Plaintiff was neither a copyright society nor a member of a copyright society thereby dis-entitled to receive any license fees.
The Plaintiff contended that an owner of a sound recording does not come within the ambit of Section 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957, where the role of a copyright society comes into the picture. Additionally, the Plaintiff contended that the right of a copyright owner is recognized under Section 30 of the Act thereby rendering a registration under Section 33(3) unnecessary.
The Defendants contended that the spirit of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 was to prevent exploitation of copyright in sound recordings. Additionally, the Defendants emphasized that its spirit will be defeated if the Plaintiff escapes registration as a copyright society under Section 33(3) of the Act.
The Court dismissed the Defendants’ distinct reliance on Section 30 and held that Section 30 does not distinguish between individuals and businesses that grant licenses and such distinction could be found in Section 33(3). The Court held that a business of issuing licenses has to be routed ‘only’ through a copyright society that is registered under Section 33(3). The reliefs prayed for by the Plaintiff, were thus denied by the Court because they were held to be statutorily barred from issuing licenses.
Citation: M/s. Novex Communications Pvt. Ltd. v. DXC Technology Pvt. Ltd., Decided by The Madras High Court on 8th December, 2021, available at M/s. Novex Communications Pvt. Ltd. v. DXC Technology Pvt. Ltd., last visited on 22nd January, 2022.
DocTutorials Edutech Private Limited v. Telegram FZ-LLC & Ors.,
The suit was filed by the Plaintiff against unknown Defendants No. 5 & 6 (referred to as John Doe), as well as any other persons associated with them, for releasing its paid content on a platform run by Defendants No. 1 & 2, i.e., Telegram.
The Plaintiff Company provided online content for medical entrance exam preparations, through its website and mobile applications, and was the sole licensee of the copyright over the preparatory content. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants 5 & 6 hacked into its secure service and obtained the copyrighted material, and disbursed them on channels made on Defendant No. 1’s app, and Defendant No.2’s website. The Plaintiff further asserted that the Defendants No. 1 & 2 did not take down the infringing content despite receipt of notices from the Plaintiff.
The Defendants 1 & 2 asserted that they had taken all possible measures to take down the infringing content that appeared on their platforms, and that they would continue to do so when notified by the Plaintiff. The Court took into consideration the claims, and agreed that the Plaintiff had made a prima facie case, and that it would cause irreparable harm to the Plaintiff if the relief was not granted. The Court held that Defendants 5 & 6 were infringing Plaintiff’s copyright and restrained them from using the copyrighted content on their platforms. The Court also ordered Defendants 1 & 2 to provide the Plaintiff with all the details that they had regarding Defendants 5 & 6. The Court concluded by stating that Defendants 1 and 2 would remain bound by their statement that they would take down all the unauthorized content and block all channels which contain such infringing content, expeditiously.
Citation: DocTutorials Edutech Private Limited v. Telegram FZ-LLC & Ors., decided on January 25, 2022, available at https://indiankanoon.org/doc/29709924/, Accessed on January 28, 2022.
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Please note that these case updates have been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the decisions published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down.