RECENT JUDGEMENT ON CASE OF COPYRIGHT BY THE KERALA HIGH COURT: (Sanjeev Pillai Vs Venu Kunnapall)

In this case the appellant Sanjeev Pillai is a writer who researched about 20 years on a religious event that occurred in history named Mamankam. Mamankam was a duodecennial medieval fair held on the bank and on the dry river-bed of Perar river. Perar river is also known as River Nila, RiverPonnani, or Bharathappuzha at Tirunavaya, southern India. This Hindu festival seemingly had begun analogous to the Kumbha. During Mamankam it was believed that the goddess Ganga descended into the Perar and by her marvelous advent the river became as holy as the Ganges itself. Being celebrated once every twelve years the festival carried huge economic, social and political significance. As per K. V. Krishna Iyer, the last Maankam fair was held in 1755 CE. The Mamankam came to an end with the conquest of Kozhikode by the Sultan of Mysore, Haider Ali.



He wrote a story on it and was intended to make a movie on it. Mamankam mainly relates to the story of Perumal. Perumal was the ruler of the country and have

pada/warriors (suicide squad). Later on, he met respondents and signed an MOU for making the movie based on his writing. But the first hitch he felt when he found that the producer is not a company as earlier stated to the writer but he is signing as an individual. The shooting began and the writer became the director of the said movie. But he found that many changes were being made in the movie so he started opposing but then he was dismissed from the directorship and the movie was completed by other directors. The writer then appealed to the court but in the first instance, he couldn’t give his prayer so the appeal didn’t end in any result. In his second appeal, he prayed to refrain the producers to release the movie. The respondents said that huge investments and efforts of many people have been already devoted and the movie release was also scheduled so asked the court not to restrain the release of the said movie.

The court has given the right to claim copyright to the author but has not banned the release. The movie was allowed to be released under certain conditions till the case is disposed of by the trial court.


Details of the case are as follow:

1) Case No.: F.A.O. No. 191 OF 2019

2) Appellant & Appellant’s Advocates:

SANJEEV PILLAI

BY ADVS.

SRI.VIZZY GEORGE KOKKAT

SRI.G.SREEKUMAR (CHELUR)

SRI.HARI KRISHNAN


3) Respondent and Respondent’s Advocates:

i) VENU KUNNAPALLI,

BY ADV. SRI.SAIBY JOSE KIDANGOOR

ii) M.PADMAKUMAR,

BY ADV. SRI.V.RAMKUMAR NAMBIAR

4) Date of Final Hearing:09-December-2019

5) Order Date:11-December-2019

6) Issue:

· Whether the author has right on his work after assignment or not

· Whether the release of the movie should be restrained or not

7) Law Applicable: Copyright Act

8) Topic Related: Author’s special right

9) Section : 57

10) Provision: 57. Author’s special rights.— 1

[(1) Independently of the author’s copyright and even after the

assignment either wholly or partially of the said copyright, the author of a work shall have the right—

(a) to claim authorship of the work; and

(b) to restrain or claim damages in respect of any distortion, mutilation, modification or other act in relation to the said work if such distortion, mutilation, modification or other act would be

Prejudicial to his honor or reputation:

Provided that the author shall not have any right to restrain or claim damages in respect of any adaptation of a computer program to which clause (aa) of sub-section (1) of section 52 applies.

Explanation.— Failure to display a work or to display it to the satisfaction of the author shall not be deemed to be an infringement of the rights conferred

(2) The right conferred upon an author of a work by sub-section (1),

(3) maybe exercised by the legal representatives of the author.


11) Final Order (concluding part of the judgment):

The assignment of work doesn’t destroy the legal right of authorship of the author. The special provision gives protection and it ensures the right of the author for his creation, even after assignment.

Release of the movie 'Mamankam' is permitted, only subject to the following conditions:

(i) Nobody's name shall be exhibited as the scriptwriter or as a writer of the screenplay of the movie 'Mamankam' produced by M/s. Kavya Film Company, anywhere on the screen or in the advertisements, which is being released on 12.12.2019 or any subsequent date, till the disposal of the suit by the court below.

(ii) The first respondent shall make an undertaking by way of an affidavit before this Court to that effect, before the release of the movie,i.e., on 12.12.2019.

The trial court shall take all endeavor to dispose of the case expeditiously and preferably, within a period of six months from the date of receipt/production of the copy of this Judgment.

References:

a) www.wikipedia.com

b) judgement dated 11.12.2019

c) www.livelaw.com

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