Delhi High Court Upholds Order Stating Satyajit Ray as First Owner of Copyright in Bengali Film ‘Nayak’
Earlier, Justice C Hari Shankar had come to the same conclusion
The Delhi High Court has upheld the Single Judge ruling that legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray was the first owner of the copyright in the 1966 Bengali film Nayak because he wrote its screenplay.
Justice Yashwant Varma and Justice Tushar Rao Gedela stated that Section 17 of the Copyright Act, 1957 was evident in the matter. And the screenplay vested with the author for his literary work.
The Bench held, “While the plaintiff/appellant may have been the producer of the film ‘Nayak’, it could not have possibly claimed a supervening right in the screenplay considering the clear language and intent of Section 13(4) of the Act. Once it is recognized that the copyright existed in the author of the screenplay, any right which the plaintiff/appellant could claim in the cinematographic work would not have either impacted or diluted the right of the author.”
In May 2023, Justice C Hari Shankar came to a similar conclusion reiterating that Ray had the right to novelize the screenplay and after his demise, the right could be assigned by his son and others to whom it was entrusted.
The Bench rejected the plea of the plaintiff, RDB and Co, the producers of the film, who sought to restrain the defendant, HarperCollins, the publishing house, from the novelization of the film’s screenplay.
Advocates Hemant Daswami and Saumya Bajpai appeared for RDB And Co.
HarperCollins was represented by Advocates Swathi Sukumar, Essenese Obhan, Ashima Obhan, Ritik Raghuwanshi, Pratyush Rao, Ayesha Ghutha Kurtha, Seerat Bhutani, and Naveen Nagarjuna.