Local Cable Operator fined heavily for infringing T-Series copyright!

In a recent suit for permanent injunction restraining infringement of copyright, mandatory injunction, damages and rendition of accounts filed by M/s Super Cassettes Industries Pvt. Ltd. (Plaintiff) against M/s. The Sun Cable Network (Defendant), the Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi have awarded INR 20,00,000/- (Indian Rupees Twenty Lakhs only) as punitive damages in favour of the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff is one of India’s largest and most reputed music companies. Plaintiff and its label ‘T¬Series’ are highly regarded and considered as one of the top names in the Indian film and music industry. The Plaintiff acquires copyright in all literary, musical and other works which it commissions and manages by way of assignments from the authors and /or other prior owners of copyright in the same. It has robust and well defined business licensing policy enabling 3rd party organizations, including television broadcasting organization, FM Radio Channels and Cable Television Operators to apply for and obtain licence for use of its copyrighted works comprising of cinematographic films, sound recordings and underlying musical and/or literary works. While the Defendant, located at Rajnandgaon, Chhattishgarh is a Ground Cable Operator carrying on business of providing cable television services to various subscribers under the name  and  logos of “THE SUN MUSIC BOX” and “THE SUN DARSHAN”.

It was alleged that the Defendant on its cable network under the logos of “THE SUN MUSIC BOX” and “THE SUN DARSHAN” also provides services such as cable advertising and non-stop entertainment wherein it makes extensive use of Hindi songs and film extracts. Further, that the Defendant also at times shows cinematograph films / movies which are mostly pirated.

It was further alleged that the Defendant is doing so without obtaining a license from the Plaintiff. The said services are merely directed to enhance viewership amongst Defendant’s subscribers and also to increase revenue generated through advertising. Such unlicensed and unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s work by defendant on its cable television network amounts to infringement of Plaintiff’s   copyright,   which   is   causing enormous loss of revenue to the plaintiff and resulting in generation of revenue for the defendant at the expense of plaintiff’s statutory rights.

The Court held as follows:

  • In the case at hand plaintiff’s ex parte evidence remains unrebutted and It is established that the infringing activities of defendant continued unabated and thus the plaintiff was left with no alternative but to file the present suit. The record bears out that the said infringing broadcasts have been confirmed by PW-2 Mohit Sharma who was able to record such infringing broadcasts on the defendant’s channel on 19.07.2016. PW¬2 Mohit Sharma was able to detect various instances of infringement by the defendant on programs broadcast on its cable network under the logos of “THE SUN MUSIC BOX” and “THE SUN DARSHAN” wherein sound recordings, cinematograph films, plaintiff’s repertoire of audio/ video songs were communicated to the public, without plaintiff’s permission or license.”
  • It is also proved that plaintiff company is the owner of copyright of the works broadcast by the   defendant on its channels i.e. “THE SUN MUSIC BOX” and “THE SUN DARSHAN”. The copies of sample Assignment Deeds which illustrate that the plaintiff company is the exclusive copyright owner of the said works being exploited by the defendant on its channel during the aforementioned periods are placed on record.
  • “The defendant has, thus, caused the plaintiff company substantial loss and damage on account of continuous infringement of its copyright and the same is disrupting plaintiff’s business, which depends partly on license income from the use of its copyrighted works. It is established on record that the plaintiff invests massive amounts to acquire copyrights from the authors and owner thereof and the same runs into several crores of rupees. It is stated that other media and   entertainment channels which regularly   obtain license, the fee runs into several lakhs of rupees. The usage of the   plaintiff   company’s   repertoire   by   the   defendant   was detected and has been proved; therefore, damages are claimed in the suit. The counsel for the plaintiff has submitted that the damages claimed by the plaintiff company are nominal as compared   to   the   license   fees   actually   paid   by   other broadcasting organizations.”

In view of the aforesaid, the Court ordered as follows:

  • Decree of the permanent injunction is passed in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendant thereby restraining the defendant, their officers, servants, agents, partners and representatives and all other acting for an on their behalf from either engaging themselves or from authorizing   the recording, distributing, broadcasting, public performances, communication to the public or in any other way exploiting the cinematograph films, sound recordings and/or literary works   (lyrics) and musical works (musical composition) or other works or part thereof throughout India, that is owned by the plaintiff including all works whereof plaintiff has copyright under section 52A of the Copyright Act, 1957;
  • Decree of mandatory injunction is passed in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendant directing the defendant to deliver and hand over to the plaintiff or its authorized representatives, all infringing tapes, copies and negatives etc bearing the copyrighted materials of the plaintiff;
  • Decree is also passed in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendant in sum of Rs. 20,00,000/¬ (Rupees Twenty Lakhs only) as punitive damages, payable by the defendant to the plaintiff; and
  • Cost of the suit is also awarded in favour of the plaintiff.


Contributor to present post is Abhilasha.

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