THE BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST, INDIA v. BHAGAVATAM.IN
Date of Order:
21st September, 2023
HON’BLE JUSTICE PRATHIBA M. SINGH
PLAINTIFF – THE BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST, INDIA
RESPONDENT - BHAGAVATAM.IN
The case emerges to be about copyright infringement and related legal actions being taken by the Plaintiff-Trust, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, in relation to their copyrighted works, which include "BHAGVAD GITA" and "KRSNA - the reservoir of pleasure." The Plaintiff-Trust claims that several Defendants have used websites, mobile applications, and social media platforms to unauthorised reproduce, communicate, and distribute their copyrighted works, resulting in a dilution of their copyrights and a sizable loss of revenue. In order to defend the Plaintiff's copyrights, the court has issued injunctions and orders in response to these accusations.
The Copyright Act, 1957 -
- Section 14: Deals with the exclusive rights of the copyright owner.
- Section 51: Addresses copyright infringement.
- Section 55: Discusses remedies for infringement.
- Order XXXIX, Rules 1 & 2 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC): These rules pertain to temporary injunctions and are often used in copyright infringement cases to obtain interim relief.
- Order XLIII, Rule 1(r) of the CPC: This rule allows for an appeal against an order granting or refusing to grant an injunction.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the plaintiff-trust in this case, is requesting legal remedies, including a permanent injunction, for copyright infringement in connection with works like "BHAGVAD GITA" and "KRSNA - the reservoir of pleasure." The Plaintiff claims that numerous Defendants have violated their copyrights by reproducing and disseminating these works via websites, mobile apps, and social media. A prima facie case has been established, and the court has granted an interim injunction to restrain the defendants. Additionally, it has issued specific directives like blocking a domain name and removing infringing mobile apps.
Whether the unauthorized reproduction, communication, and dissemination of copyrighted works, including 'BHAGVAD GITA' and 'KRSNA - the reservoir of pleasure,' by various Defendants through websites, mobile applications, and social media platforms constitute copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, 1957?
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE PLAINTIFF:
- The plaintiff is the rightful owner of the copyrights to a number of works, including "BHAGVAD GITA" and "KRSNA - the reservoir of pleasure."
- These works have been widely subjected to unauthorised reproduction, communication, and dissemination by the defendants.
- The Plaintiff's copyrights are highly valuable and significantly increase their income.
- The Defendants are not permitted to distribute or reproduce these copyrighted works in any way.
- This unauthorised copying is more than just a reproduction of the original scriptures; it also contains translations, summaries, introductions, and cover artwork.
- The Defendants' actions violate the Plaintiff's copyrights and pose a risk of doing so.
- The Defendants have received legal notices from the Plaintiff indicating they are aware of the infringement.
- The proceeds from these copyrighted works are essential to the Plaintiff's charitable endeavours.
- To stop further infringement and safeguard the Plaintiff's rights, the Court's involvement is required.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT:
- The respondent contended that their use of the works protected by intellectual property rights is covered by the fair use doctrine, which allows for the restricted use of protected works for things like criticism, commentary, news reporting, or education.
- The respondent argued that the works covered by copyrights aren't creative or original enough to be protected by the law.
- The respondent may claim that there is no substantial similarity between the material they used and the original works that are protected by copyright, claiming that there has been no infringement.
- The respondent argued that the in question works are in the public domain, which means they are not covered by copyright and may be used without restriction.
- The respondent claimed that they have a legal licence or other authorization from the plaintiff (the owner of the copyrights) to make use of the works protected by those rights.
- The respondent contended that their use of the copyrighted works is transformative and not infringement if they have made transformative changes to the works.
- The Plaintiff-Trust owned revered texts like "BHAGVAD GITA" and "KRSNA - the reservoir of pleasure," which the court found to be a compelling example of copyright infringement in this case. The court determined that the Plaintiff had successfully made a prima facie case for an ex parte ad interim injunction after taking into account the seriousness of the situation.
- The importance of protecting the Plaintiff's copyrights and preventing any further dilution or financial loss was heavily emphasised by the court. It carefully considered the relative conveniences and made a clear decision in favour of granting the temporary restraining order, highlighting the potential irreparable harm that the Plaintiff might suffer if the order were rejected.
- As a result, the court issued a number of detailed orders prohibiting the Defendants from duplicating and distributing the Plaintiff's works and directing organisations like Godaddy.com LLC to restrict access to websites that violate intellectual property rights.
- The order directing the Plaintiff to deposit the original books in the court registry, while compliance procedures were set forth and further proceedings were set for March 12, 2024, demonstrated the court's dedication to protecting the Plaintiff's original books.
- This ruling demonstrated the court's commitment to defending intellectual property rights and averting additional copyright violations.
In conclusion, this case serves as a potent example of the judiciary's dedication to upholding the principles of copyright protection and intellectual property rights. The court's admission of widespread copyright violations, particularly in relation to renowned literary works like "BHAGVAD GITA" and "KRSNA - the reservoir of pleasure," highlights how serious the problem is. The court has shown that it is committed to protecting the Plaintiff's copyrights and averting further harm to their intellectual property by granting the ex parte ad interim injunction. A firm decision in favour of the injunction was made after carefully weighing the competing interests and taking into account the possibility of irreparable harm to the plaintiff. The court has demonstrated its unwavering dedication to the protection of intellectual property rights by issuing specific instructions to restrain Defendants and engage pertinent entities in blocking infringing content. This case not only highlights the importance of copyright laws but also the judiciary's function in ensuring the survival of original and creative works.