The Division Bench of the Bombay High Court recently upheld
the order of the single judge of the Bombay High Court whereby
the single judge issued an interim injunction in favour of the
plaintiff (Trimurti Films Pvt Ltd) and against the defendants
(Super Cassettes Industries Pvt Ltd & Ors) and restrained
the defendants from releasing their Bollywood film "Baadshaho"
with a remixed version of the original song "Keh Doon Tumhe".
The original song was from an old and famous Bollywood movie
"Deewar" produced by the plaintiff.
The defendants asserted that the plaintiff had granted
Polydor of India Limited (Polydor; now called Universal Music
India Pvt Ltd) on January 2 1974 the right to make and sell
gramophone records of the songs of the film "Deewar". It was
further asserted that by an agreement of July 10 2017, the
defendants acquired an absolute assignment of the sound
recording rights of the film "Deewar" from Universal and were
thus entitled to make remixed versions of the original song
"Keh Doon Tumhe".
The single judge of the Bombay High Court referred to
Section 13(4) of the Copyright Act, 1957 and held that the
rights acquired by Universal from the plaintiff were only the
sound recording rights which are distinct from the underlying
literary or musical rights. The single judge held that the said
agreement cannot be interpreted to mean that Universal was
entitled to the rights over the lyrics and/or the music of the
song "Keh Doon Tumhe" and consequently the defendants were also
not entitled to the same.
The defendants approached the Division Bench of the Bombay
High Court on appeal. The Division Bench concurred with the
reasoning of the single judge and upheld the interim injunction
order granted by the single judge, and dismissed the appeal.
Although this area of law has been visited quite often by
courts, it is still interesting to note that such issues
continue to create difficulties at the practical level.
Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan
B6/10 Safdarjung Enclave
New Delhi 110029, India
Tel: +91 11 41299800
Fax:91 11 41299899