Karan Johar’s Dharma Production Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit for “Gunjan Saxena - The Kargil Girl”


Palak Arora 20/01/21 #copyright #patent #trademarks #infringement #intellectualproperty #IPR #IPRinfo #IPlaw #IPRrights #Trademarkclickcom #IP #lawfirms #lawyers #entrepreneur #KaranJohar #ISRA #GunjanSaxena #Kargil #Bollywood #drama #DharmaProductions #RamLakhan #Khalnayak

It seems like the movie ‘Gunjan Saxena - The Kargil Girl’ has been cursed by someone. Earlier, the movie was accused of misrepresenting the Indian Air Force which created lots of hardships for the directors and producers. Now, there is another hurdle for the movie to cross. The makers of the movie are now accused of committing copyright infringement as they allegedly used three old Bollywood songs in their movie. A suit also has been filed by Indian Singers Rights Association (ISRA) where they sought royalty for the commercial exploitation of their performance in the movie which is based on IAF pilot Gunjan Saxena. However, Delhi High Court issued summons to Dharma Productions belonged to famous filmmaker Karan Johar.

ISRA made many allegations upon Dharma Productions including commercially utilising performances of its members that too without their prior permission. ISRA also alleged Karan Johar’s production house of commercially utilising three different performances of its members in three different songs in their movie “Gunjan Saxena - The Kargil Girl.” Those three songs were “Ae Ji O Ji” from the movie ‘Ram Lakhan’, “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai” from ‘Khalnayak’ and “Saajan Ji Ghar Aaye” from the movie of Karan Johar himself ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’.

ISRA had sought in the pray section of their lawsuit to enforce the performers’ rights of their members under sections 38 and 38B of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012. The Singers’ Association also claimed all the performances of its members to be originally a part of the above-mentioned cinematograph films. It further stated, “The tariff for the performers’ rights is fixed and the defendant is bound to deposit it before the Court until the final decision comes.”

Johar’s production house rejected ISRA’s claim saying, “studio performances are not live performances and therefore these not qualify for payment of royalty.” Dharma Productions further added, “The license for the songs in question had been taken from the labels concerned.”

The High Court of Delhi noted in view of precedents that the given definition of “Performer” under section 2(qq) of the Copyright Act includes a singer and the performer’s right holds the meaning of any visual or acoustic presentation made live by one or more performers. The court later said, “Every performance has to be live whether before an audience or in a studio and the issue of performers’ right raised by ISRA was seriously triable.”

As a result, the court decided to defer the order on payment of deposit till the next date of hearing and even asked both the parties to complete their pleadings till then. “Considering the fact that the rival contentions and the underlying agreements are yet to be considered by this Court, this Court, at this stage, is deferring passing any order/directions to the defendant to deposit the amount till the next date of hearing before which date parties will complete their pleadings”, the court said.

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