High Court (India)

October 17, 2019

Delhi HC Refuses Ad-Interim Injunction To Saregama India Ltd In Copyright Infringement Case Against Maddock Films

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Delhi High Court has refused to grant ad-interim injunction to Saregama India Ltd in a copyright infringement suit against Maddock Films Pvt Ltd at an interim stage and posted the matter for November 4.

Saregama had filed a suit against Maddock Films accusing it of copyright infringement regarding a song ‘Ke Odhni Odhu Odhu Ne Udi Jaye’.

The judge stated that considering the fact that the underlying rights in the composition have already been assigned to a third party which has not been impleaded as a defendant in the suit, the court did not find it fit to grant an ad-interim injunction at this juncture.

The court directed Maddock Films to furnish a security for a sum of Rs 25 lakhs with the Registrar General of the High Court, as a matter of ad-interim measure.

Maddock Films which plans to release its film ‘Made in China’, had released the song as featured in the film on September 19, which resulted in the suit.

Saregama claimed that it held the copyrights to the song and that Maddock Films could not have aired the recreated version of the song without its permission. It sought an ad-interim injunction against Maddock Films to permanently restrain it from airing the song.

The court also took note of the fact that both the parties had entered negotiations for grant of license to Maddock Films to use the song. Saregama had sought a license fee of Rs 8 lakhs, but the final terms could not be agreed upon.

Saregama stated that the license fee was only for the purposes of putting the song in the film and that it would retain the rest of the rights for commercial exploitation of the underlying work.

Maddock Films contested this position, stating that Saregama received only limited rights from its predecessor company, The Gramophone Company of India Ltd, and thus it is not even entitled to the license fee because it did not hold any right to the song or its underlying work.

However, Sony Music Entertainment India Pvt Ltd, which owns the music rights of the film, sought impleadment in the court proceedings.

It submitted that lyrics of the original song actually belonged to a folk song and hence were in public domain, due to which no one can claim ownership and thus cannot be assigned to anybody. It argued that the underlying work of composition including sound recording of Maddock Film has already been assigned to Sony.

After hearing the arguments, the court refused to grant any ad-interim relief to Saregama.

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