‘Titles’ of the Literary Work, no copyright exists, thus, no claim of infringement of copyright can be ordered: Supreme Court

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New Delhi: While deciding the controversy in relation to the plea seeking quashing of the Criminal Case against the producer of the Bollywood movie, hon’ble Apex Court of the Country held that there exists no copyright on the “Title” of the literary work.

The matter of appeal was brought by Krishika Lulla, before the bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, which comprising of Justice, MB Lokur and Justice SA Bobde, against the Order of the High Court of Bombay.

It can be seen from the case that a complaint containing claim of copyright in a synopsis of a Story written with the title ‘ Desi Boys’ by Mr. Shyam Vithalrao Devkatta- the complainant (writer) was preferred by him. In the complaint he sought to maintain that he had registered the synopsis of ‘Desi Boys’ with the Film Writers Association in the year 2008 and later he mailed the concept of the story in the form of a synopsis when his friend- Ramesh Bhatnagar asked for his help.

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Then Mr. Bhatnagar forwarded this story by mail to Ahsan Sagar on 15th day of October, 2009, terming it ‘Just an Idea’. However, the same story was forwarded. But, the matter terms to conflict when Complainant saw the promos of the Film Bearing the title ‘Desi Boys’, actually spelt as ‘Desi Boyz’. And as such he claimed this is an infringement of copyright. Moreover, he further claimed that he cannot say that weather a part of the story of the film written by him has also been infringed, as he has not seen the film.

However, the opponents to the claim, Krishika Lulla and others, preferred the quashing of the complaint. However, hon’ble High Court of Bombay, has earlier declined to accept the pleas of opponent and refused to quash the complaint and as such the present appeal before the hon’ble Apex Court of India was, which is accepted and in the result the Apex Court has observed that there is no copyright existing on the ‘title’ of the literary work.

The matter was put before and decided by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India’s bench comprising of justices MB Lokur and SA Bobde. Moreover, the court has also observed that the Complainant is not entitle to relief on the basis that there exist no copyright in the ‘title’ of the literary work, however, except in an action for passing off or in respect of registered trademark comprising of such titles, where reliefs can be claimed.

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Adv. Faim Khalilkhan Pathan