Latest Copyright Cases – 2021 – Part 4

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Saregama India Limited v. Next Radio Limited & Ors.

The Apex Court, in the instant case, set aside an interim order passed by the Madras High Court, which held that copyrighted material cannot be broadcasted without prior notice as per Rule 29(4) of the Copyright Rules, 2013. The High Court had modified specific provisions of the Rule and applied it to the broadcasters, by opining that the Rule lacked flexibility and created difficulties for the broadcasters. The mandate to furnish the particulars in the notice was revised to fifteen days as against 24 hours. Moreover, the High Court rendered the second proviso under the Rule regarding prior notice as a mere routine procedure instead of an exception loosening the grips on broadcasters. The Petitioner pointed out that this modification would be applicable pan-India and create disparity regarding the Rule. Various landmark cases were relied on by the Petitioner in establishing the settled principle of law, which prohibited the judiciary from modifying or rewriting the words in a Statute while interpreting the law. While setting aside the interim order, the Supreme Court opined that the Courts were not empowered to revise or rewrite the provisions of a Statute by way of judicial review. Emphasis was laid on the fact that the powers to make and rewrite laws vested with the Legislature. Furthermore, the Court did not deliberate on the merits of the respondent’s submission concerning the validity of Rule 29(4).

Citation: Saregama India Limited v. Next Radio Limited & Ors., decided by the Supreme Court on 27th September, 2021, available at: Saregama India Limited v. Next Radio Limited & Ors. last visited on 4th October, 2021.

Narendra Hirawat And Co. vs Aftab Music Industries & Anr.

Plaintiff Narendra Hirawat and Co. filed a suit against the Defendants for violating consent terms and breaching film rights accorded to the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs claimed that despite the existence of an agreement which granted the Plaintiffs perpetual rights over certain movies produced by the Defendants, the latter uploaded it on their YouTube Channel. The Plaintiffs argued that the Defendants accepted the Plaintiffs’ right over the film in perpetuity by relying on the Consent Terms mentioned in a suit filed in 2012. The Defendants countered this by alleging that they had only granted ‘Internet Rights’ and not ‘YouTube Rights’ to the Plaintiffs. However, the High Court of Bombay rendered the Defendants’ arguments ‘non-sensical’ by holding that ‘YouTube Rights’ fall within the ambit of ‘Internet Rights’ and the two cannot be dealt with separately. The Court added that YouTube could not function without the existence of the Internet hence denying the standalone ‘YouTube Rights’ claimed by the Defendants.

The Court ordered the Defendants to stop infringing the rights accorded to the Plaintiffs, and to cease storing or making copies of the films on any platform. The Court explicitly forbade the Defendants from representing their non-existent right over the films to any third party. Although the Court opined that exemplary and punitive costs are to be imposed along with issuing a contempt notice to the Defendants for having intentionally breached the agreement, no such imposition or issuance of notice were ordered. The Court denied the Defendants their right to reply by stating that the Defendants were dishonest and failed to adhere to the commitments made to the Court.

Citation: Narendra Hirawat And Co. vs Aftab Music Industries & Anr. on 28th September, 2021, available at: Narendra Hirawat And Co. vs Aftab Music Industries & Anr.  last visited on 6th October, 2021.

M/s. Sun T.V. Network Ltd. v. M/s. Shree CMR Productions

The Plaintiff filed a suit seeking a declaration that it was the exclusive copyright holder of a Kannada film “ADDHURI”, along with a permanent injunction against the Defendant No. 2. The Defendant No. 1 assigned the copyrights in the film to Plaintiff perpetually, and consequently the Plaintiff became the absolute copyright owner of the said film, and could broadcast it without geographical area restrictions. On 02.03.2016, Defendant No. 2 telecast the songs from the said movie without permission or licence from the Plaintiff.

The Court examined Censor Certificate, the copyright assignment deed, and the supplementary agreement. The Court found that the assignment agreements showed that the Plaintiff was the exclusive copyright holder. The Court held that by telecasting the songs on 02.03.2016, Defendant No. 2 infringed the Plaintiff’s copyright, as it was done without obtaining any permission or licence from Plaintiff.

Citation: M/S. Sun Tv Network Ltd vs M/S. Shree Cmr Productions, Decided by Madras High Court, on 7 September, 2021, available at: M/S. Sun Tv Network Ltd vs M/S. Shree Cmr Productions, visited on 13th October, 2021.

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Disclaimer

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 contact@bananaip.com  for corrections and take down.

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