Delhi HC Rejects Scriptwriters Plea For Injunction On Release Of Film Lootcase On Hotstar [Read Order]

first_imgNews UpdatesDelhi HC Rejects Scriptwriters Plea For Injunction On Release Of Film Lootcase On Hotstar [Read Order] LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK4 Aug 2020 2:10 AMShare This – xThe Delhi High Court has reaffirmed that there can be no Copyright in an idea/ theme. Holding thus, it refused to pass an injunction order, restraining the release of Film ‘Lootcase’ on Hotstar, hours before its scheduled release on July 31, 2020. “There is no copyright in any idea, subject matter, theme or plot, and violation of copyright is confined to the form, manner and…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Delhi High Court has reaffirmed that there can be no Copyright in an idea/ theme. Holding thus, it refused to pass an injunction order, restraining the release of Film ‘Lootcase’ on Hotstar, hours before its scheduled release on July 31, 2020. “There is no copyright in any idea, subject matter, theme or plot, and violation of copyright is confined to the form, manner and arrangement and the expression of the idea by the author of the copyright at work,” reiterated single-Bench of Justice C. Hari Shankar. The Court was hearing the plea of Indian writer and director, Vinay Vats, claiming that the film had “substantial similarities” with his script titled ‘Tukkaa Fitt’; and even though his film could not be released, Vats had strongly relied on its trailer so released in the year 2016. Rejecting his plea, the High Court observed, “In the present case, there is no earlier film, based on the script of the plaintiff, which could for the basis of a claim to copyright. The plaintiff, as Mr. Neeraj Kishan Kaul correctly points out, bases his cause of action on a script, which never came in the public domain, and public knowledge of which is being sought to be attributed on the basis of a trailer, for a film which never saw the light of day. The cause of action, on the basis whereof the plaintiff premises his case, therefore, essentially remained inchoate.” The bench relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in RG Anand v. M/s Delux Films, 1978 (4) SCC 118, which enumerates the principles to be borne in mind, while examining copyright claims in cinematographic and other such literary works. In this case the Apex Court had held, “There can be no copyright in an idea, subject matter, themes, plots or historical or legendary facts and violation of the copyright in such cases is confined to the form, manner and arrangement and expression of the idea by the author of the copyrighted work. … in order to be actionable the copy must be a substantial and material one which at once leads to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty of an act of piracy.” The High Court further observed that the plot of the impugned film was “as old as the hills” and the Petitioner could not lay any claim of ‘novelty’ as could be said to have been filched by the defendants. “The mere fact that certain plot points, between the plaintiff’s script and the story of the upcoming film ―Lootcase as reflected in the trailer, released on YouTube, may be common, cannot be the basis to lay a claim to copyright, as the plaintiff has chosen to do,” the Court said. Another reason given by the High Court to not interfere with the release of the impugned film was that the trailer was not made by the plaintiff and the makers of the trailer had not ventilated any claim for violation of copyright. “It is prima facie questionable, in the circumstances, whether any claim of copyright can be laid by the present plaintiff at all, in such circumstances,” the bench remarked. Before parting, the bench debilitated the practice of approaching the Courts at the ‘last minute’ (See Dashrath D. Rathore v. Fox Star Studios India, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 345). The Court was told that promos of the film Lootcase had been in public domain since June 2019 and thus, the Plaintiff, who belongs to the film industry, could not profess ignorance. In view thereof, it observed that the case appeared to be another example of “misuse of the judicial process”. It held, “there is no justification for the plaintiff having approached this Court on the eve of the release of the film ―Lootcase, which is slated to be released tomorrow, i.e. 31st July, 2020 and seeking injunction against such release.” Case Details: Case Title: Vinay Vats v. Fox Star Studios India Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. Case No.: CS(COMM) 291/2020 Quorum: Justice C. Hari Shankar Appearance: Advocates Manu Bakshi, Shagun Khurana, Rahul Chandhok, Nitesh Shokeen and Mohit Aggarwal (for Petitioner); Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, with Advocates Saikrishna Rajagopal, Sidharth Chopra, Sneha Jain, Asavari Jain, Devvrat Joshi, Chanan Parwani and Prita Suri Click Here To Download Order Read Order Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img

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