SAHITHYA PRAVARTHAKA COOPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD Vs. KAMALALAYA PRINTING WORKS AND BOOK DEPOT
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Sahithya Pravarthaka Cooperative Society Ltd
Kamalalaya Printing Works And Book Depot
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CHANDRSEKHARA MENON,J. -
(1.) ALLEGED infringement of copyrights over four well known works of late Professor A.R.Raja Raja Varma,one of the tallest figures in Malayalam literature said to be vested in the respondents plaintiffs,is the subject matter of this litigation,which has come to this court by way of appeal from the judgment and decree of the Trivandrum District Court in O.S.No.8 of 1968 of that court.The decree passed is in the nature of a preliminary one,wherein it is declared that the plaintiffs are entitled to get damages from the defendants,the quantum to be determined at the time of passing of the final decree.The plaintiffs 'entitlement to such damages is for the period from 18th June 1968 when the defendants first published the books concerned,up to 1st January 1969,the date up to which the copyrights over the books subsisted in the plaintiffs in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Copyright Act of 1957.The defendants have been directed to produce their accounts for the period for audit to ascertain the amounts realised by them by the sale of the books for the purpose of fixing up the quantum of damages which the plaintiffs are to get.The plaintiffs 'prayer in the suit for a decree for perpetual injunction for restraining the defendants from making,printing,publishing or selling any reproduced copies of the books,has been refused by the District Judge on the ground that the plaintiffs 'copyright in respect of those four books have ceased to exist from 1st January,1969.
(2.) THE plaintiffs in the suit are(1)the sole proprietrix of the Kamalalaya Printing Works at Trivandrum,and(2)her husband and general power of attorney holder who manages the press and the book depot.The defendants are the well known Sahitya Pravarthaka Cooperative Society Ltd.of Kottayam and its publishing concern the National Book Stall - N.B.S.
According to the plaint allegations,Professor Raja Raja Varma had assigned the copyrights of all his works in existence then and to be written,on 6th Kanni 1088 M.E.to one Sri K.S.Raman Menon,a gentleman from Ottapalam in the erstwhile Malabar District settled down at Trivandrum and running a publishing house and a press of some renown in those days - B.V.Book Depot and the Kamalalaya Printing Works.The copyrights were registered under the existing law in Travancore.
(3.) WE are concerned in this case with four books of Sri Raja Raja Varma -(1)Bhasha Bhooshanam,first published in May 1908;( 2)Vritha Manjari,first published in September 1904;( 3)Malayala Sakunthalam,first published in July 1912;and(4)Swapna Vasavadatha,first published in April 1918.Sri Raman Menon bequeathed all his rights in the properties as per a registered Will No.31 of 1918.He died in 1100 M.E.( 924 -25 ).The plaintiffs 'case is that as per the provisions of the Will all his copyrights and business including B.V.Book Depot and Kamalalaya Printing Works,devolved on his wife and 3 sons among his Makkathayam heirs and 3 of the Marumakkathayam heirs.By a subsequent udampadi No.2901 dated 20th Meenam 1106 it is alleged that the assets so bequeathed were divided by metes and bounds.The Makkathayam heirs are alleged to have taken the B.V.Book Depot together with the copyrights of certain publications specifically mentioned in that document leaving and relinquishing all their rights in the copyrights over the remaining publications which Raman Menon had including the books specified in the plaint in favour of the 1st plaintiff's brother Sankara Menon,one of the Marumakkathayam heirs mentioned in Raman Menon's Will.It is the further case of the plaintiffs that the rights of Marumakkathayam heirs finally vested in the 1st plaintiff by means of various documents.It is asserted in the plaint that the 1st plaintiff is the owner of the copyrights over the books concerned and no one else has any copyright over them.This fact has been specifically stated in the editions brought out by the 1st plaintiff of these books.;
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