“Prima Facie Case Of Infringement Of Copyright”; Bombay High Court Asks Makers Of Web Series ‘Singardaan’ To Share Profits With Plaintiff.
The Bombay High Court held that the makers of the web series ‘Singardaan’ prima facie infringed Copyright Rights, since the plaintiff Shamoli Ahmad Khan, already wrote a story which was titled ‘Singardaan’ too. The suit which was filed by the plaintiff, khan and then heard by Justice SC Gupte, who stated injunction against the director, Deepak Pandey; CEO of Ullu App Vibhu Aggarwal. The court highly noted that there was infringement of their right and highly has caused damages to the plaintiff. The Court sought for a monetary compensation instead of total injunction to the web series, so that the plaintiff could be accommodated with the situation.
According, to the plaintiff who is writer of novels and collection of short stories, have written ‘Singardaan’ which was written in Urdu in 1993, which was named “Zahne-Jadid” and then it was translated in Hindi. In the year 1996, collections of short stories were also published. The story was laso published in literary magazines, books etc. and also translated in different languages such as English, Marathi and Punjabi. The defendants stated that the web series is of 1 hour and 54 minutes which comprises of six episodes and is released on the Ullu App and YouTube. The plaintiff stated that the not only the story is been copied but the exact names and every plot is copied too. The defendants stated that though the name lay same but the plot is different and the story lays original.
A case which named “Krishna Lulla vs. Shyam Vithalrao Devkatta which stated that simply copying the title is never any infringement of the copyright as title can be same. And therefore the case is passing off. The court has identified similarities between the current case and the case. The court observed that “The Plaintiff may then be compensated in terms of an adequate remuneration or a share of such profits. The prejudice suffered by the Plaintiff can surely be redressed by a decree of damages; it cannot, under the circumstances, be described as irreparable.
Considering the totality of circumstances, this court is of the view that instead of granting a temporary injunction against exhibition of the web series, interests of justice would be served better if the suit itself is set down for trial and the Defendants are asked to maintain accounts of the profits made from the web series in the meantime, i.e. from the date of publication of the web series and till date and during the pendency of the suit and render them to the court as and when demanded in the course of the trial. In the meantime, however, further adaptation or use of the web series in a different format may be restrained."