Supreme Court of India Copyright Case Law

Supreme court of India has decided following Copyright Cases in India since its establishment in 1950.

M/S Paragon Rubber Industries Vs. M/S Pragati Rubber Mills & Ors.

Date: November 29, 2013

Held: Judgment of the High Court on the Territorial jurisdiction issue under Copyright Act, 1957 was affirmed.

M/S Young Achievers Vs. Ims Learning Resources Pvt.Ltd.

Date: August 22, 2013

Held: “An arbitration clause in an agreement  cannot  survive  if  the agreement containing arbitration clause has  been  superseded/novated  by  a later agreement.”

Inst.Of Chartered Accountants Of India Vs. Shaunak H Sayta & Ors.

Date: September 2, 2011

Held: “The   term   `intellectual   property’   refers   to   a   category   of   intangible  rights   protecting   commercially   valuable   products   of   human   intellect  comprising   primarily   trade   mark,   copyright   and   patent   right,   as   also   trade   secret   rights,   publicity   rights,   moral   rights   and   rights   against   unfair competition (vide Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th  Edition, page 813). Question papers,   instructions   regarding   evaluation   and   solutions   to   questions   (or model   answers)   which   are   furnished   to   examiners   and   moderators   in connection  with evaluation  of answer  scripts, are literary  works  which are products of human intellect and therefore subject to a copyright. The paper setters and authors thereof (other than employees of ICAI), who are the first owners   thereof   are   required   to   assign   their   copyright   in   regard   to   the  question papers/solutions in favour of ICAI. “..“The   words   `infringement   of   copyright’   have   a   specific connotation.   Section   51   of   the   Copyright   Act,   1957   provides   when   a copyright in a work shall be deemed to be infringed. Section 52 of the Act enumerates the acts which are not infringement of a copyright. A combined reading of sections 51 and 52(1)(a) of Copyright Act shows that furnishing of information by an examining body, in response to a query under the RTI Act may not be termed as an infringement of copyright”

Central Board Of Sec. Education & Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors.

Date: August 9, 2011

Held: “Section   9 provides  that without   prejudice  to  the provisions  of section  8,  a request   for   information   may   be   rejected   if   such   a   request   for   providing access   would   involve   an   infringement  of   copyright. …If   any   request   for   providing   access   to   information   involves   an  infringement of a copyright subsisting in a person other than the State,  the   Central/State   Public   Information   Officer   may   reject   the   request  under section 9 of RTI Act…The examining bodies (Universities, Examination Boards, CBSC etc.) are   neither   security   nor   intelligence   organisations   and   therefore   the exemption   under   section   24   will   not   apply   to   them.   The   disclosure   of information   with   reference   to   answer-books   does   not   also   involve infringement   of   any   copyright   and   therefore   section   9   will   not   apply.”

T.V. Venogopal Vs. Ushodaya Enterprises Ltd. & Anr.

Date: March 3, 2011

Held: In  cases  of  infringement  either   of  trade   mark   or   of   copyright,   normally   an   injunction   must follow.  Mere delay in bringing action is not sufficient to defeat grant of injunction in such cases.  The grant of injunction also becomes necessary if it prima facie appears that the adoption of the mark was itself dishonest.

Academy Of General Edu.,Manipal & Anr. Vs. B.Malini Mallya

Date: January 23, 2009

Held: Keeping in view the statutory provisions, there cannot be any doubt whatsoever that copyright in respect of performance of `dance’ would not come within the purview of the literary work but would come within the purview of the definition of `dramatic work’..Section 52 of the Act provides for certain acts which would not constitute an infringement of copyright. When a fair dealing is made, inter alia, of a literary or dramatic work for the purpose of private use including research and criticism or review, whether of that work or of any other work, the right in terms of the provisions of the said Act cannot be claimed. Thus, if some performance or dance is carried out within the purview of the said clause, the order of injunction shall not be applicable. Similarly, appellant being an educational institution, if the dance is performed within the meaning of provisions of clause (i) of sub-section (1) of Section 52 of the Act strictly, the order of injunction shall not apply thereto also. Yet again, if such performance is conducted before a non-paying audience by the appellant, which is an institution if it comes within the purview of amateur club or society, the same would not constitute any violation of the said order of injunction.

Dabur India Ltd. Vs. K.R. Industries

Date: May 16, 2008

Held: The said carton constituted an `artistic work’ within the meaning of Section 25-C of the Copyright Act, 1957 (the 1957 Act). Respondent is said to have been using an identical colour scheme lay out, arrangement of features and get up as that of the plaintiffs, the essential features.

M/S. Entertainment Network (India) Ltd. Vs. M/S. Super Cassettee Industries Ltd.

Date: May 16, 2008

Held: An owner of a copyright indisputably has a right akin to the right of property. It is also a human right. Now, human rights have started gaining a multifaceted approach. Property rights vis-`-vis individuals are also incorporated within the `multiversity’ of human rights

Bharat Glass Tube Limited Vs. Gopal Glass Works Limited

Date: May 1, 2008

Held: The primary concern, is what the finished article is to look like and not with what it does and the monopoly provided for the proprietor is effected by according not, as in the case of ordinary copyright, a right to prevent direct reproduction of the image registered as the design but the right, over a much more limited period, to prevent the manufacture and sale of article of a design not substantially different from the registered design. The emphasis therefore is upon the visual image conveyed by the manufactured article.

Eastern Book Company & Ors. Vs. D.B. Modak & Anr.

Date: December 12, 2007

Held: The act of reproduction of any judgment or order of the Court, Tribunal or any other judicial authority under Section 52(1)(q) of the Act, is not an infringement of the copyright.  Any person can, therefore, publish judgments of the Courts.  The appellants may have happened to have first published the judgments, but the same will not mean that they can have a copyright therein.  It is the considered opinion of the Division Bench that no person can claim copyright in the text of the judgment by merely putting certain inputs to make it user friendly.  The appellants cannot claim copyright in the judgment of the Court. … For the reasons stated in the aforesaid discussion, the appeals are partly allowed.  The High Court has already granted interim relief to the plaintiff-appellants by directing that though the respondent-defendants shall be entitled to sell their CD-ROMS with the text of the judgments of the Supreme Court along with their own head notes, editorial notes, if any, they should not in any way copy the head notes of the plaintiff-appellants; and that the defendant-respondents shall also not copy the footnotes and editorial notes appearing in the journal of the plaintiff-appellants.  It is further directed by us that the defendant-respondents shall not use the paragraphs made by the appellants in their copy-edited version for internal references and their editors judgment regarding the opinions expressed by the Judges by using phrases like `concurring, `partly dissenting, etc. on the basis of reported judgments in SCC. The judgment of the High Court is modified to the extent that in addition to the interim relief already granted by the High Court, we have granted the above-mentioned additional relief to the appellants.

M/S. Dhodha House Vs. S.K. Maingi

Date: December 15, 2005

Held: The expression ‘carries on business’ and the expression  ‘personally  works for gain’ connotes two different meanings.  For the purpose of carrying on business only presence of a man at a place is not necessary.  Such business may be carried at a place through an agent or a manager or through a servant. The owner may not event visit that place.  The phrase ‘carries on business” at a certain place would, therefore, mean having an interest in a business at that place, a voice in what is done, a share in the gain or loss and some control  thereover.  The expression is much wider than what the expression in normal parlance connotes, because of the ambit of a civil action within the meaning of section 9 of the Code.

State Of Andhra Pradesh Vs. Nagoti Venkataramana

Date: August 20, 1996

Held: Section 2 [m] (ii) defined “infringing  copy” to mean, in relation to cinematographic film, a copy of the film made on any medium by any means. Section 3 defines “publication” to mean  making a  work available  to the public by issue of copies or by communicating the work to the public. Section 4 envisages when    work  is  not  deemed  to  be  published  or performed in  public. It provides that except in relation to infringement of copyright, a work shall not be deemed to be published or performed in public, without the license of the owner of  the copyright.  The permission  of the  owner for publication is mandatory when it sought to be brought home to the  person violating  the publication  or  performed  in public. It  excludes the  application of  infringement of  a copyright from the purview of Section 4 Chapter x deals with registration of copyright. Section  44 envisages that there shall be  kept at  the Copyright  Office a  register in the prescribed form to be called the Register of Copyrights in which may  be entered  the names  or title of works and  the names and  addresses of  authors, publishers  and owners  of copyright and  such other  particulars as may be prescribed. The entries  under Section  48 in the register of copyrights shall be  prima facie evidence  of the particulars entered therein, or extracts therefrom certified by the Registrar of Copyrights and   sealed with the seal of the Copyright Office shall be  admissible  in  evidence  in        all  courts  without further proof  or production  of the  original Section 51 in Chapter  XI   deals  with  infringement  of  copyrights.  It provides, among other things,     that a copyright in  a work shall be  deemed to be infringed when any other person makes for sale  or hire,  or sells  or lets for hire, or by way of trade displays  or offers  for sale  or hire  any infringing copies of  the work.  Section 52-A deals with particulars to be included in sound recordings and video films.

The South Indian Film Chamber Of Commerce, Madras Etc. Vs. Entertaining Enterprises, Madras And Ors. Etc.

Date: December 16, 1994

Held: We  are of the opinion, as rightly contended  for  on behalf of  the appellants  before us   that  the  fact     the provisions in the Act make the non-possessing of the  letter of  consent  from the holder of copyright  of  the  film  or assignee thereof for doing business in such  films makes  it a  cognizable offence or an offence punishable, can  be no ground for  holding that the State Legislature in requiring the keeping of a consent letter from the copyright holder or his  assignee  for  doing  business in the  film  which  is necessary for carrying on the such business lawfully can  be said  to make the State Legislature to lose the legislative competence which it had on the subject of ‘cinema’ in  List-II of Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.

Gramophone Company Of India Ltd. Vs. Birendra Bahadur Pandey & Ors.

Date: February 21, 1984

Held: The question is what does the word import’ mean in Sec. 53 of  the Copyright  Act ?  The word  is not defined in the Copyright Act  though it  is defined in the Customs Act. The submission  that where goods are  brought into the country not  for commerce,  but for  onward transmission  to another country,  there can,  in law,  be no importation, is not acceptable. We have,  therefore, no  hesitation in  coming  to     the conclusion that        the word ‘import’ in Secs. 51 and 53 of the Copyright Act means ‘bringing      into India  from outside India’, that it is not limited  to importation  for commerce  only but includes importation   for    transit   acrossthe   country. Our interpretation, far   from  being   inconsistent  with any principle of  International law,  is entirely in accord with International Conventions and the Treaties between India and Nepal. And, that we think is as it should be. The Registrar is nor bound to make an order under Sec. 53 of the Copyright Act so soon as an application is presented  to him  by the  owner  of the Copyright. He  has naturally  to consider the context of the mischief sought   to be prevented. He  must consider whether the copies  would infringe  the Copyright if the copies were made in India. He  must consider whether the applicant owns the Copyright  or  is  the  duly  authorised  agent  of the Copyright. He  must hear these claiming to be affected if an order is  made and  consider any  contention that may be put forward as  an excuse  for the    import. He  may consider any other relevant circumstance.

R.G Anand Vs. M/S. Delux Films & Ors.

Date: August 18, 1978

Held: Infringement of  a copyright  in a  play in a film-What are the tests-Whether copyright can be claimed in a theme.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 tile author of the copy-righted work.  ..Where the  same  idea is  being  developed  in  a different manner,  it is  manifest  that  the  source  being common, similarities  are bound to occur. In such a case the courts should  determine whether or not the similarities are on  fundamental   or  substantial  aspects  of  the  mode  of expression  adopted   in  the copyrighted  work.   If the defendant’s work  is nothing  but a literal imitation of the copyrighted work  with some  variations here  and  there  it would amount  to violation of the copyright. In other words, 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. ..One  of the  surest and the safest test to determine whether or not there has been a violation of copyright is to see if the reader, spectator or the viewer after having read or seen both the works is clearly of the opinion and gets an unmistakable impression  that the subsequent work appears to be a copy of the original. ..Where  the theme  is the  same but  is presented and treated differently  so that  the subsequent  work becomes a completely new work, no  question of violation of copyright arises.   ..Where  however apart from the similarities appearing in  the  two  works  there  are  also material  and  broad dissimilarities which  negative the  intention to  copy  the original and the coincidences appearing in the two words are clearly incidental  no infringement  of the  copyright comes into existence.  ..As  a violation of copyright  amounts to  an act of piracy it  must be proved By clear and cogent evidence after applying the  various tests  laid down by decided cases. ..Where  however the  question is of the violation of the copyright  of a  stage play by a  film  producer  or  a Director the task of the plaintiff becomes more difficult to prove piracy. It is manifest that unlike a stage play a film has a  much broader  prospective, wider  field and  a bigger background where the defendants can by introducing a variety of incidents give a colour and complexion different from the manner in which the copyrighted work has expressed the Idea. Even so, if the viewer after seeing the film gets a totality of impression  that the film is  by and large a copy of the original play, violation of the copyright may be said to be proved.

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