Sunday, April 2, 2023

KGF song copyright row: Karnataka High Court grants interim relief to Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh, Supriya Shrinate

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The High Court of Karnataka on Friday granted interim relief to Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh and Supriya Shrinate over the use of a song from the Kannada movie KGF Chapter 2 in the promotional video for the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Sunil Dutt Yadav stayed the investigation in the FIR till the next date of hearing.

An FIR was registered by MRT Music over the alleged copyright infringement by the Congress party over use of a song from the Kannada movie KGF Chapter 2 in the promotional video for Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Appearing for the petitioners, Senior Advocate A.S. Ponnanna contended that the videos featuring the song have been taken down from the official social media handles of Congress party, following an earlier undertaking given to the Court. 

A civil suit was also filed by MRT Music against the grand old party, in which a trial court earlier directed blocking of the social media handles of Congress and Bharat Jodo Yatra.

The order was lifted by the High Court in an appeal filed by Congress party, on an undertaking given by it to take down the offending videos.

As per Ponnanna, there was no cognisable offence in the complaint to register the FIR. He said Rahul Gandhi cannot be made an accused merely because his face is featured in the video. 

Speaking about territorial jurisdiction, the Counsel said the FIR, which invoked offences under Sections 120-B, 403, 465 r/w Section 34 of IPC; Section 63 of the Copyright Act and Section 66 of the IT Act, was registered at Yeshwantpur police station, although the Yatra never entered Bangalore.

He said when the Copyright Act was invoked, there was no basis to invoke IPC provisions, as the special act would prevail over the general act. 

The IPC provisions have been deliberately invoked as the offences under the Copyright Act were non-cognisable, he argued.

The Senior Advocate said there was no basis to invoke IPC provisions relating to criminal conspiracy, forgery and misappropriation of property for initiation of criminal proceedings when the civil law remedy has already been invoked.

Over the High Court’s query regarding preliminary enquiry, the Counsel said that within minutes of lodging of the complaint, the FIR was registered.

Representing the complainant, Senior Advocate Shyamsundar MS contended that there was no urgency to hear the petition and requested for hearing after the Winter vacations. 

He said the offending videos have not been taken down despite the undertaking given to the Court and therefore, the complainant has filed a contempt petition before the Court.

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