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Lodging Of FIR And Cause Of Action For Suit Under Section 60 Of The Copyright Act, 1957

The intersection of intellectual property rights and criminal law has given rise to complex legal questions concerning the rights and remedies available to authors and creators. One such question, which the Hon'ble High Court of Mumbai recently addressed, pertains to the accrual of a cause of action under Section 60 of the Copyright Act, 1957 (the Act). This article critically examines the court's decision in light of the facts presented.

The Plaintiff, Sapna Bhog, an author found herself at the receiving end of baseless allegations of copyright infringement by the Defendant. The crux of the dispute arose when the Defendant, through a social media post, made malicious and unfounded predictions regarding the Plaintiff's future works. Subsequently, the Defendant escalated matters by lodging a First Information Report (FIR), alleging copyright infringement against the Plaintiff.

Section 60 of the Copyright Act, 1957:
Section 60 of the Act is pivotal as it provides a remedy to individuals who face groundless threats of copyright infringement. The objective is clear: to shield authors and creators from unjustified and malicious claims that could stifle their creativity and reputation. The provision seeks to strike a balance between the rights of copyright holders and the interests of individuals wrongly accused of infringement.

The Legal Conundrum:
The primary contention before the Bombay High Court was whether the lodging of an FIR against the Plaintiff constituted a 'threat' within the ambit of Section 60 of the Act. The Defendant argued that an FIR does not amount to an action as envisioned under the proviso to Section 60.

Court's Rationale and Analysis:
In arriving at its decision, the Hon'ble High Court of Bombay leaned on the precedent set in Dhiraj Dharamdas Dewani Vs. Sonal Info Systems (2012 SCC Online Bom 351). The Court held that the lodging of an FIR indeed constitutes a 'threat' as contemplated by Section 60 of the Act.

By lodging an FIR based on baseless allegations, the Defendant not only cast a shadow over the Plaintiff's integrity but also initiated a chain of events that could have far-reaching consequences for the Plaintiff's professional standing and peace of mind.

Implications of the Decision:
The Bombay High Court's decision reaffirms the protective ethos of Section 60 of the Act. Authors and creators can take solace in knowing that the legal framework offers recourse against individuals who wield copyright infringement claims as weapons of harassment or intimidation.

The concluding Note:
The Hon'ble High Court of Bombay's decision in the case at hand provides clarity on the scope and applicability of Section 60 of the Copyright Act, 1957. By recognizing the lodging of an FIR as a 'threat' within the purview of the provision, the Court has fortified the rights of authors and creators against malicious and unfounded allegations.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Manya Vejju @ MV Kasi Vs Sapna Bhog
Date of Judgement/Order:13.12.2023
Case No. Appeal From Order No.438 of 2023
Neutral Citation: 2023:BHC:AS:37466
Name of Hon'ble Court: Bombay High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: N.J.Jamadarz, H.J.

Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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