Decided on February 23,1994

KAMAL HASSAN Respondents


MISHRA, J. - (1.) HEARD. Appellant herein has filed a suit claiming copyright in the title of a book ?Magalir Mattum? in Tamil which he has got registered with the Registrar of Copyrights. According to him, the book is yet to be published. He has acquired the copyright for the title of the work by virtue of the said registration. He has found, however, that the respondent herein has come forward with an advertisement that he has proceeded to produce a film (movie) in the name of ? Magalir Mattum ?. This, according to the plaintiff-appellant is an infringement of his copyright and that has given rise to an action in Court for a permanent injunction. He has filed a petition for temporary injunction pending the suit. The said petition has been dismissed (Reported in 1994-2-L.W. 535). He has come forward with this appeal.
(2.) THE respondent is yet to file his written statement. He has entered appearance in the suit and contested the claim of the plaintiff-appellant for injunction of the ground that the appellant has not yet published the book and thus, the book is neither known to the respondent; nor the contents thereof. According to him, the appellant cannot claim any copyright in the title of the book, whether published or not published. The trial Court has rejected the prayer for temporary injunction.
(3.) IT is generally acknowledged by the Court in India that the definitions in Sections 13 and 14 of the Copyright Act, 1957, do not go beyond the literary work or musical work and the title ordinarily of any such work is not a part of composition or work of the author or the composer. His workmanship is confined to the work and not to the title. IT is indeed the law that there is no property in the name which is the term of description used to identify the work and any other person can, with impunity, adopt it. That appears to be the defence of the respondent and it is rot easy to find any exception to it. There can still, however, be an occasion for any author or composer to complain to the Court that his copyright has been infringed, if he is able to show that the title of his work is being used by another person to induce the public to believe that a thing which he has to apply is applied, it is not different from the work to which the title has been given by the author or composer. In that case, however, it will be necessary for the author and the composer to bring such material facts and evidence in support thereof that the title of the work has acquired such a character in the mind of the public that they cannot easily disassociate the title from the work and accept the same for any other work. In other words, it should be found for holding that there is an infringement of copyright merely by the adoptation of the title of a work of art, music or drama, that it has been used by another for the purpose of inducing the public to believe that it is the same work which is being performed or delivered to them. There can also be no difficulty in acknowledging that ordinarily unless a work is published, its violation is not conceivable by someone who comes with his publication before the other work is published. That, however, cannot mean that someone who has got the opportunity to sneak into the work of art, drama or music can take the same to benefit himself by using it for performance and publication. In other words, if it is shown by the complainant that his work which has not been published has been copied and/or adopted by another person and he is able to establish that it is his work which has been so published by another who has not credited the work, there can be a case in his favour that his copyright has been infringed. We have not found in this case any such exception to hold that the registration of the copyright in the work registered in the name mentioned above by the appellant has been infringed.;

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