Delhi High Court grants ex parte interim injunction against Geetanjali Salon in copyright infringement case

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: A suit was filed by Phonographic Performance Limited (plaintiff) seeking interim injunction against Geetanjali Salon and its various outlets (defendants) and all those acting on their behalf from exploiting, using plaintiff’s copyrighted works in repertoire available on plaintiff’s website at any of its premises including but not limited to the list of outlets which have been made a part of the documents of the present suit, which amounts to infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright. Anish Dayal, J., granted an ex-parte ad interim injunction against defendants its directors, partners or proprietors, and any other person working for and on their behalf from exploitation/ use of plaintiff’s copyrighted works in the repertoire available on plaintiff’s website at any of its premises including but not limited to the list of outlets which have been made a part of documents of the present suit, which amounted to infringement of plaintiff’s copyright.

The plaintiff is a company incorporated under the Companies Act in 1941, which operates as a collecting organization for copyrighted sound recordings. The plaintiff is one of the oldest collecting organizations in the world and was originally known as Indian Phonographic Industry (IPI). The plaintiff represents a significant portion of the music industry in India, owning or controlling the public performance rights of numerous sound recordings from both international and domestic music labels. These rights have been assigned to the plaintiff by its member companies through Assignment Deeds under the Copyright Act, 1957. The plaintiff conducts licensing activities under the Act, issuing licenses for the public performance and communication of sound recordings to authorized users.

The defendants were found to be exploiting the sound recordings owned by the plaintiff without a valid license. Despite receiving a legal notice to cease and desist, the defendants persisted in their infringing activities, prompting the plaintiff to file for an interim injunction to prevent further infringement.

During the proceedings, the plaintiff’s counsel presented detailed submissions highlighting the plaintiff’s rights as the owner of copyright in the sound recordings at issue. The counsel referenced relevant provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957, particularly those related to the assignment of copyrights and licensing activities. The counsel also cited previous court orders where the plaintiff’s rights had been protected, establishing a precedent for granting injunctions in similar cases of copyright infringement.

The Court meticulously analyzed the submissions made by both parties, considering the evidence presented regarding ownership of the copyrights, the defendants’ unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s sound recordings, and the legal remedies available under the Copyright Act. The Court observed that the plaintiff had made a prima facie case for the grant of an interim injunction. It noted the plaintiff’s longstanding presence in the music industry, its extensive repertoire of copyrighted sound recordings, and the defendants’ continued infringement despite the issuance of a legal notice. The court also considered the balance of convenience, recognizing that the plaintiff was likely to suffer irreparable harm if the injunction was not granted.

The Court held that the plaintiff had established a prima facie case for the grant of an ex-parte ad interim injunction. The court granted the injunction against the defendants, restraining them from exploiting the plaintiff’s copyrighted works, specifically sound recordings available on the plaintiff’s website and at their premises listed in the documents of the suit. The Court ordered notice to be issued to the defendants, directing them to file a reply within four weeks. Compliance with the order was required within one week, and the case was listed for the next hearing on 08-07-2024.

[Phonographic Performance Limited v. Geetanjali Salon Private Limited, 2024 SCC OnLine Del 1171, decided on 16-02-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Mr. Chander M. Lall, Sr. Adv. with Mr. Ankur Sangal, Mr, Raghu Vinayak Sinha & Mr. Shaurya Pandey, Advocate for plaintiff

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