“If a creative person steals your idea, he’s killing his creative ability, if he steals your art, he’s killing his art, if he makes it available to the world, it won’t create the impact you could have created, because it wasn’t from the right source.” – Michael Bassey Johnson
Gujarat High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of J.B. Pardiwala, J., while addressing an application in regard to violation of copyright of the applicant’s industrial design drawings being reproduced in three-dimensional material form by the respondent, the Court directed for handing over of the machine to the applicant who is entitled to the possession of the same.
The facts of the case deal with some very pertinent issues in regard to the copyright infringement. The applicant is the owner of the copyright in the artistic work of industrial drawings and he has alleged that his drawings have been stolen by accused 1 by reproduction of the same in three-dimensional material in the form of a machine, which was set up in the factory premises of Respondent 2 and 3. Further, an FIR was lodged by the applicant in this regard and after intensive investigation by the police officers and on being satisfied of the copyright violation under Section 64 of the Copyright Act, 1957, machine was seized by them. However, the CJM rejected the applicant’s applications and allowed accused’s applications. The applicant being aggrieved from all the orders of the lower courts filed the applications in the High Court.
The contentions placed by the applicant’s counsel were that,
- Reproduction of the said drawings being clearly and undoubtedly copies of the original work are liable to be seized by the police under Section 64 of the Copyright Act, 1957.
- Magistrate failed to comply with the procedure under Section 64(2) Copyright Act, 1957.
- Section 15 of Copyright Act allows the author of a work to opt for a design copyright protection under either the Designs Act, 2000 or Copyright Act, 1957.
- Courts below have overlooked and misinterpreted the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957, also have ignored the registration of the applicant’s artistic work.
Further, the matter dealt with clarity and analysis of various aspects of copyright and design. While analysing the same, various decisions of Supreme Court and High Courts were quoted, one such pertinent case in regard to “determining copyrightability is the test of originality” was of Eastern Book Company v. D.B. Modak, (2008) 1 SCC 1. Copyright subsists in the works that can be deemed as original works, originating from the author.
The High Court, while doing an in-depth study of the relevant provisions pertaining to the matter, relied on Midas Hygiene (P) Ltd v. Sudhir Bhatia, (2004) 3 SCC 90 in regard to the artistic work and the reproduction into a three-dimensional medium. Court further noted that on observations made, it is unequivocally clear that the drawings created by the applicant hold legitimate copyright and the machines constitute copies of the work, which are liable to be seized. Coming to the conundrum surrounding Section 15 of the Copyright Act, the Court stated that it only anticipates one type of protection either in the Designs Act, 2000 or Copyright Act, 1957. Therefore, the Magistrate had erroneously construed Section 15 in stating that the applicant should have registered his design in both the stated Acts. Furthermore, the Court on the question of police seizing the machine held it was correct as the material constituted infringing copies.
The Court concluded by directing to hand over the possession of the machine to the applicant by affixing the seals at the earliest and disposed of the criminal case. [Subhashchandra Shavjibhai Padasunbiya v. State of Gujarat,2018 SCC OnLine Guj 1371, decided on 03-08-2018]