Satyajit Ray First Owner Of Copyright In ‘Nayak’ Movie, Right To Novelize Screenplay Vested In Him: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on 23rd May, 2023 held that late director Satyajit Ray is the first owner of copyright in 1966 Bengali film ‘Nayak’ and the right to novelize its screenplay is also vested in him.

Justice C Hari Shankar was hearing a suit moved by RDB and Co. (HUF- whose ‘Karta’) R.D. Bansal had commissioned Ray to write and direct the film, seeking to restrain publishing house Harpercollins from novelizing the film written by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay. The book was published in May 2018.

It was the case of the plaintiff, that the novelization of the screenplay by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay and publication of the novel by Harpercollins constituted infringement of its copyright, under Section 51 of the Copyright Act.

On the other hand, Harpercollins contended that the copyright in the screenplay vested in Satyajit Ray and after his death in 1992, the same vested in his son Sandip Ray and Society for Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives, of which Sandip Ray is a member.

Harpercollins also claimed that it had obtained a license from Sandip Ray and SPSRA to novelize the screenplay of the film.

The Court refused to injunct Harpercollins from novelizing screenplay of the movie and held that the right could be assigned from Satyajit Ray and, consequent on his demise, by his son and others on whom the right devolved – on any other person, under Section 18(1) of the Copyright Act and therefore the assignment of the right was wholly in order and in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Justice Shankar added that the plaintiff HUF had not chosen to discredit the grant of right to novelize the screenplay of the film to the publishing house on any ground other than the contention that the copyright was vested with it and not with Sandip Ray and the SPSRA.

Read order here.

Blinkhit v. Blinkit: Karnataka High Court Sets Aside Interim Injunction Order Against Blinkit Citing Non-Use Of Registered Trademark By Blinkhit

The Karnataka High Court set aside an interim injunction order of the trial court, temporary restraining the use of ‘Blinkit’ trademark- a famous online groceries delivery platform- for alleged violation of the rights of a software services firm Blinkhit.

The bare perusal of the of the trademarks is given below:

Blinkhit claimed to have registered the marks ‘BLINKHIT’ and ‘iBLINKHIT’ since 2016.

A single judge bench of Justice S R Krishna Kumar observed that the main ground on which the trial court had granted temporary injunction is that Blinkhit had obtained the registered trademark much prior to the appellant starting the use of word BLINKIT for its business. However, the profit and loss account statement and balance sheet of Blinkhit would clearly indicate that no business was being carried on and no income was generated by the respondent by using the trademarks.

Moreover, the nature of services allegedly carried on by Blinkhit is completely different from the nature of business being carried on by Blinkit and consequently, “mere obtaining registration of trademarks by the respondent-plaintiff to carry on business/service/activity which was completely different from the appellant-plaintiff cannot be made the basis to come to the conclusion that the respondent had made out a prima facie case for grant of temporary injunction. Viewed from this angle also, the impugned order passed by the trial court deserves to be set aside.”

Thus it set aside the impugned interim injunction order and directed the trial court to dispose of the suit as expeditiously as possible, preferably within one year.

Read order here.

BBC Documentary On PM Modi: Delhi High Court Issues Notice In Case Filed By Gujarat Based NGO

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in a plea seeking to sue it over its documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly casting “a slur” on India’s reputation, including that of the judiciary and the Prime Minister.

The High Court issued notice to BBC on the application filed by a Gujarat-based NGO, Justice on Trial, and listed it for hearing on September.

Justice on Trial has filed the case as an indigent person. Notice has also been issued on its application seeking to sue as an indigent person.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing for the NGO contended that the two part documentary has defamed the country, including the judiciary.

Red order here.

Delhi High Court Pulls Up Delhi Police Over Inaction Against Man Who Allegedly Made Hate Speech Against Mohd. Zubair

The Delhi High Court on 26th May, 2023 pulled up the Delhi Police over no action taken against the man who allegedly made hate speech and posted offensive tweets against Mohammed Zubair in August 2020. The court was hearing Zubair’s plea against the FIR under POCSO Act — he has already been given a clean chit in the case.

The Delhi Police informed court that it is conscious of the directions of the Supreme Court on the action to be taken in hate speech cases, Justice Bhambhani sought a status report from it over the action taken against the person who posted the tweets against Zubair.

The court added that considering the nature of the tweets put out by the person in question, it would remiss in its duty if the directions of the Supreme Court is not enforced. The Delhi Police’s counsel then assured the court that the directions of the Apex Court would be followed and that appropriate action will be taken in the matter in accordance with law.

The Delhi Police previously informed court that no criminality was found in the tweet posted by Zubair. The police in May last year said that no cognizable offence was made out against Zubair.

Zubair was granted interim protection from arrest on September 9, 2020 by Justice Yogesh Khanna. The court had also directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cyber Cell to file a status report on the investigation carried out in this case. It had also directed Twitter India to expedite the request filed by the Cyber Cell of Delhi Police.

Rajasthan High Court Refuses To Stay Release Of Film ‘Sirf Ek Banda Kaafi Hai’ Allegedly Made On Life Of Asaram Bapu

The Rajasthan High Court has refused an interim application seeking stay on the release of Manoj Bajpayee starter ‘Sirf Ek Banda Kaafi Hai’, allegedly based on the life of Asaram Bapu.

The Court said that there is nothing directly found related to Asaram Bapu, which could persuade this Court to grant the relief prayed for by the petitioners.

The Court however said dismissal of the stay application will not preclude either of the parties to raise their legal issues at the time of final disposal of the writ petition, on merits.

The plea has been moved by Asaram Bapu, who is currently in jail in a rape case, and Om Prakash Lakhani, a trustee of Sant Shri Asaram Ji Ashram Charitable Trust. The plea alleges that the movie has been made on the life of Asaram Bapu without his permission and depicts him in a negative character.

Actor Manoj Vajpayee is playing the lead role in the film, which is directed by Apoorv Singh Karki and produced by Zee5 Studio and others.

According to the petition, Asaram’s reputation and privacy rights have been violated by the film, which allegedly portrays him as a villainous character named “Ravana” who has committed heinous crimes.

Considering that the movie in question has already been released on OTT Platform on May 23, the Court held that any interim order restraining the release of the movie at this moment would result into unwarranted and huge financial loss to the respondent-producer of the film.

Justice Pushpendra added that petitioners may later seek compensation against damages and defamation, if there is any violation of their reputation and dignity.

Read order here.

Anand Ranganathan Appears before the Delhi High Court in Suo Moto Contempt Case and says that He is a Free Speech Absolutist and that he did not Comment On Justice Muralidhar

Appearing in person before the Delhi High Court in a suo motu criminal contempt case, author Anand Ranganathan on Wednesday called himself a “free speech absolutist” and said that he did not comment or post any tweet on Justice S Muralidhar.

A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh was hearing a suo motu criminal contempt case initiated by the court in 2018. The case relates to certain tweets made in 2018 against Justice Muralidhar, former judge of the High Court and present Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, in respect of an order passed by him quashing the order of house arrest and transit remand of activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case.

During the hearing today, Ranganathan’s counsel Advocate J Sai Deepak said that the tweet put by his client was not with respect to the issue in question and that an affidavit will be filed making the position clear.

The proceedings were initiated after Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao wrote a letter to the court stating that the tweet was a deliberate attempt to attack a sitting high court judge.

In April, the court discharged Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, who was another contemner, in the matter after he appeared in person, expressed his remorse and tendered an unconditional apology.

Read order here.

Accepting Unconditional Apology, Delhi High Court Discharges Arnab Goswami, Others In Contempt Case Instituted By Former TERI Chief RK Pachauri

Managing Director and Editor-in-chief of Republic TV Arnab Goswami along with others has tendered unconditional apology before the Delhi High Court in a 2016 contempt case moved by former Executive Vice Chairman of TERI R.K. Pachauri for “fragrant and willful disobedience” of the court’s earlier orders restricting them from publishing certain claims against him.

Goswami was with Times Now when the case was filed in 2016.

Goswami’s Affidavit mentioned that he had no intention to commit any act/ omission amounting to disobedience much less, wilful disobedience of the orders of this Court and that the alleged broadcasts were done under the bona fide belief that the same was not prohibited in terms of order passed by this Hon’ble Court on 18.02.2015 passed in C.S. (OS) 425 of 2015. The alleged broadcasts were made as part of fair reporting in view of the liberty under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India as recognised by this court in the aforesaid order.

On May 22, the court discharged Arnab Goswami, Economic Times and Raghav Ohri after accepting their written unconditional apology.

Justice Arora also dismissed the plea against Prannoy roy on merits.

Pachauri, who expired in the year 2020, had filed the plea contending that the media houses were in contempt of two orders of the court which asked them to adhere to “journalistic norms” in reporting about the proceedings of an inquiry against him.

The plea contended that the media houses were absolutely restrained from publishing any news report or article or opinion with respect to the allegations of sexual harassment against him. Apart from Goswami, who was then an editor-in-chief of Times Now, the plea was also filed against Bennet & Coleman, The Economic Times, Raghav Ohri and Prannoy Roy.

Read order here.

Delhi Court Issues Notice Against Aayush Sharma For Copyright Over His Film ‘Ruslaan’ 

Social activist Jagdish Sharma and actor Raajveer Sharma have filed an injunction suit to stop the release of Aayush Sharma‘s Ruslaan. They alleged that Ruslaan is a copy of their 2009 movie Ruslaan. The plea claimed that the dialogue and story had been copied from the original film without their approval.

The Additional District Judge of Patiala House Court, Sh. Satyabrata Panda, issued a notice to all the defendants: the lead actor Aayush Sharma, another actor Jagapathi Babu, and the maker of Ruslaan, K. K. Radhamohan.

The judge also asked them to file a reply within one week with a strict warning. Matter is listed for hearing on 09.06.2023.

IPL 2023: Case against Gujarat Titans ahead of Q2 & Final regarding playing Gujarati songs

Gujarat Titans (GT), an Indian Premier League team, were informed that they no longer can play two well-known Gujarati songs during their games in Qualifier 2 and IPL Final.

“Helo Maro Sambhalo Ranuja Na Raja” and “Mara Palav No Chedlo Na Aao Chogala Re” were the songs in dispute and were at the core of a copyright infringement controversy.

Recorded Music Performance Limited (RMPL), a copyright society registered by the Union government, on May 20 filed a copyright infringement suit against the Gujarat based franchise after they had played the two songs in matches held at the Narendra Modi cricket stadium in Motera.

Shri Ram Audio and Telefilm, a member of the RMPL, own the two songs.

The petition focused on worries that the defendants are in a continuous cause of action as they are abusing the plaintiff’s copyrights for financial advantage and avoiding their need to seek licences from the plaintiff society.

DNA Entertainment Network Private Limited, Gujarat Titans, DJ Akki’s Spin Guruz, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) are among the defendants named in the petition.

The GT franchise gave an undertaking before a Commercial Court in Gandhinagar and swore under oath in front of the judge that they would not play the music during the Qualifier 2 and championship match of the IPL.

The plaintiff would have been entitled to receive a payment of Rs. 1.50 lakh for each match in which the songs were played if the defendants had received a public performance licence from the plaintiff.