Lights, Camera, Infringement!

film-roll-1-1419187Bollywood and Intellectual Property, especially copyrights share a close nexus and that has been more than evident in the recent times. Content in the form of scripts, screenplay and plots etc. are frequently exchanged amongst writers and production houses often leading to copyright infringement.

In yet another instance, Filmkraft Productions has been alleged of copying actor Suhdhanshu Pandey’s screenplay, script and dialogues. He contends that the plot of his debut production, ‘Farmayish’, has been copied which he spent a considerable time nurturing under his flagship Raw Stock Production Private Limited.[1] He approached director Sanjay Gupta who agreed to join him in this venture. After a series of discussions, the actor met producers of Filmkraft, who made it clear that the film will be created and presented under their banner.[2] Post the meeting, the actor stated that the producers had sidelined him by offering to give him two percent of the profits as the associate producer, without any acknowledgement for the script. Rejecting this offer, he filed a complaint with the Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC) claiming sole and exclusive intellectual property right, including copyright ownership on the script.

However, the matter did not end there. Following this the actor issued a public notice which claimed that all rights, titles and interests including all copyrights vested in the script titled ‘Farmayish’ belonged to Raw Stock Films. On the other hand, Filmkraft Productions also issued similar notices in a few magazines denying the same. The actor has now issued two legal notices claiming copyright infringement.

It has not been long since the landmark Supreme Court judgement of Jyoti Kapoor vs Kunal Kohli,[3] which comprised of similar line of facts, upheld the rights of the scriptwriter. The Court, after examining the two impugned scripts was of the view that there were substantial similarities between the two and hence decided to grant damages as well as due credits to the scriptwriter.

[1] “Hrithik Roshan’s Next In Legal Soup”, Available at:

[2] Ibid.

[3] [Notice of Motion (L) No. 490 of 2015 Suit (L) No. 176 of 2015]