Evidence is of primary importance in deciding trademark and
copyright infringement suits. The presence or lack of it may
turn tables delivering contrary results. The litigation
concerning the declaration of absolute ownership of limited
copyright viz., the audio rights in the pictures, saw Lahari
Recording Co. appeal against the order of permanent injunction
granted in favour of Music Master Audio Video Manufacturing Co.
[Lahiri Recording Co. Ltd. v. Music Master Audio Video
Manufacturing 2008(37)PTC 121(Mad.) (DB)] The appeal was
ruled in favour of Lahiri, solely due to lack of evidence
Lahiri contended that the learned Single Judge had erred in
granting the order and that he had stopped manufacturing
cassettes after the expiry of the copyright period. He also
vouched that there existed no conclusive proof as to an
infringement made by him on the copyright of Music Master Audio
Video Manufacturing Co.
In response to this, Music Master stated that the exclusive
right to make and release copies in the form of audio cassettes
and Compact Discs were assigned to Lahiri. In the event of the
assignment period lapsing in March 1997, Lahiri should have
given up its rights, however, they continued to exploit the
audio rights in the pictures. They vehemently stated such usage
to be illegal and an act of infringement of their
Deliberating upon the matter, the Court opined are two types
of damages available to the owner of a copyright, viz. under
section 55 for an infringement action and the under section 58
of the Copyright Act, 1957 for conversion. The Court observed
that only if an infringement is established, damages can be
presumed. Further it clarified that general damages did not
require specific proof while special damages needed to be
pleaded and proved. In cases of flagrant infringement, the
Copyright Act,1957 does not provide for additional damages.
The Court observed that in the event of lack of evidence in
respect of Lahiri manufacturing or marketing or selling the
audio rights or audio cassettes after the expiry of the
assignment period and further that whatever that were in the
market that will be sold by the distributors every day, the
Music Master is not entitled to claim any relief of permanent
injunction in so far as the claim of Lahiri is concerned. It
seems here that the Court has taken a precautious view of the
scenario and has prudently ruled that in the absence of
evidence, an infringement action cannot be alleged.
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