Parag Tripathi, Rajiv Nayar, Prathiba Singh & Sandeep Sethi in Zee versus Saregama copyright dispute

Nalini Sharma

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw of the Delhi High Court recently directed Saregama India Ltd. to deposit a sum of Rs. 20,00,000 to be entitled to stream music on their website and permit download of the songs.

The order arises out of a copyright infringement suit filed by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. against Saregama for infringing their copyright in the soundtrack and audiovisuals of the music of 29 films, the rights of which are owned by Zee.

Though not on caveat, Senior counsels Parag P. Tripathi and Rajiv Nayar appeared for the defendants along with Ajay Bhargav and Ankur Sangal of Khaitan and Co. on seeing the matter in the causelist, as observed by the judge in the order.

Senior Advocates Prathiba M. Singh and Sandeep Sethi argued for Zee along with Chander Lall, Sudeep Chatterjee and Jaya Mandelia of SSL&S. They contended that Saregama, as per their reply to the legal notice preceding the suit, only claims assignment of copyright by the producers of the movies in the year 1981. The second proviso of S.18(1) of the Copyright Act, 1957 restrains the defendants from the exploitation of the copyright in any medium or mode that did not exist and was not in commercial use in 1981.

Justice Endlaw held in the interim order that whether or not technological advancement in the sale of music like CDs, DVDs and magnetic tapes would fall within the meaning of “medium” under the provision mentioned above is a question that requires consideration and no injunction with respect to CDs, DVDs and tapes can be granted.

The bench was, however was convinced that the exploitation of mediums like the internet should not be allowed to the defendants even at this stage and therefore allowed streaming and downloading of songs on the defendant’s website subject to deposit of a sum of Rs. 20,00,000.

The bench directed Saregama to maintain accounts of the subject works and listed the matter for January 24.

Read the order here.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news