Copyright facilitates the grant of exclusive rights to an author
or creator of an original work, including the right to copy,
distribute and adapt the work. These rights as stipulated under
Section 18 of the Copyright Act, 1957 can be assigned subject to
certain conditions, limitations, copyright can be assigned to any
The recent case of Emgeeyar Pictures Pvt. Ltd. v. O.K.
Films, 2010 (42) PTC 404 (Mad.)(DB), entailed two
appeals challenging a common order of the Learned Single Judge. The
first was filed by Emgeeyar Pictures (Emgeeyar), entailing the
issue of non- completion of the assignment deed, while the second
appeal was filed by O.K. Films against M/s. Raj Tele Films Ltd.
(Raj) alleging the criminal breach of trust.
An assignment deed was executed by Emgeeyar in favour of O.K.
Films for transferring world negative rights of three Tamil feature
films including every copyright. The deed entailed payment of a
consideration of Rs.18 lakhs, wherein, one lakh was agreed to be
paid by cash on signing the agreement, the remaining amount be paid
to Emgeeyar on obtaining and delivering O.K. Films. This was
confirmed vide a laboratory letter transferring and delivering the
entire copyrights, world negative rights and all other rights
relating to the three movies.
Emgeeyar came forth to the court with a submission that the
assignment deed was not complete and hence O.K. Films was not
entitled to any rights arising out of the assignment deed. The
contention raised by Emgeeyar included the non- payment of the
remaining consideration amount, which was admitted to by O.K Films.
Another ground asserted by Emgeeyar was that the payment of the
remainder amount (17 lakhs) was a condition 'precedent' to
obtaining and delivering the rights to O.K. Films, the confirmed
laboratory letter only evidencing a complete transfer of
The non- completion of the assignment deed, as f argued by
Emgeeyar, also violated the assignment made by O.K. Films in favor
of M/s. Raja Tele Films Ltd since O.K. Films was yet to possess the
rights assigned to him. Even if the flow of rights was considered
as complete, the illegality committed by Raja Tele Films Ltd of
exhibiting the pirated versions of two out three movies amounted to
criminal breach of trust and henceforth, nullifying the succeeding
assignment. To this Raja Tele Films contended that Emgeeyar and
O.K. Films were acting in collusion and all the contentions put
forth by both parties. stood contra to the assignment deed entered
into between them on 25.1.1999.
The court after taking into account all the arguments observed
that the payment clauses of the deed between Emgeeyar and O.K.
Films clearly indicated that the assignment was made in
consideration of the amount 'paid'. Henceforth, the
contention of Emgeeyar that the payment of balance of consideration
was a condition 'precedent' for exercise of the rights
cannot be countenanced for a mere reason that the deed of
assignment was given effect from the date of the assignment deed
Reliance was also placed upon a letter dated 25.1.99 alleged to
have been written by O.K. Films to Emgeeyar which was contended to
be a fabricated one since the phone numbers mentioned in the letter
were not in existence in the year 1999. This, the court observed,
spoke of collusion between Emgeeyar and O.K. Films In light of this
finding, the court observed that by executing a deed in favor of
Raja Telefilms after getting substantial consideration, O.K. Films
could not revert back and support the case of Emgeeyar. This lead
to the dismissal of both the appeals.
This article enunciates the recent, much awaited, and landmark judgment delivered on September 16, 2016 by Hon'ble Delhi High Court throwing light on the important provisions of the Copyright Act, 1962.
The Patents Act 1970, along with the Patents Rules 1972, came into force on 20th April 1972, replacing the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911. The Patents Act was largely based on the recommendations of the Ayyangar Committee Report headed by Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar. One of the recommendations was the allowance of only process patents with regard to inventions relating to drugs, medicines, food and chemicals.
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