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Supreme Court refuses to interfere in copyright plea against Kangana Ranaut show Lock Upp

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The Supreme Court has directed Pride Media to approach the lower court in a plea pertaining to actor Kangana Ranaut-hosted Lock Upp TV show against Ekta Kapoor owned ALT Balaji.

The bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna refused to interfere in the matter preferred by Pride Media. 

Senior Advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan appeared on behalf of the petitioner and submitted that the Telangana High Court vacated the injunction on the first day without a hearing. 

The suit was filed by Pride Media, a proprietary firm represented by its proprietor Abdul Haleem Baig, for the declaration and permanent injunction under Section 62 of the Copyright Act in the trial court.  It was stated that the proprietary firm was registered under the Telangana Shops & Establishment Act, 1988. The proprietor also became a member of Indian Motion Pictures Association in the process of producing a reality TV show, he contacted writer and director Shantanu Re, a reputed director, and come up with the story by name ‘The Jail’ and prepared script with 22 celebrities. 

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The concept story of ‘The Jail’ is for 100 days and the said story was registered in ‘Screen Writers Association’. It was submitted that they could not produce it due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown and when they were gearing up to mobilize production, they came to know about Lock Upp, the show hosted by Kangana Ranaut, which is based on the exactly the same concept. The script of ‘The Jail’ was prepared on March 7, 2018 and registered in the name of ‘The Jail’.  

When Lock Upp released the promo on 19.02.2022, Pride Media filed a suit on 22.02.2022 for interim injunction against ALT Balaji from releasing, exhibiting, publishing the series in the name of Lockupp reality show in theatres, OTT platforms, YouTube and electronic social media. The Additional Chief Judge granted the injunction after going through the video clippings of the trailer.  

ALT Balaji filed an appeal against the injunction before the bench of Justice P. Sree Sudha of Telangana High Court.

It was submitted that ALT Balalji was marketing the show Lock Upp since 01.02.2022 and the public was aware of the said show as per the news clipping, yet Pride Media approached the court at the eleventh hour and obtained the injunction order issuing notice to them.

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The ALT Balaji spent Rs 6,28,43,050on various marketing initiatives in print media, TV, social media, and press reports and it will be live-streamed for 72 days thus, the delay in launching it will have a massive and irretrievable cascading effect on viewership. And if the show is not aired, they will suffer a monetary loss of Rs 17.5 lakh per day.

On the other hand, Pride Media submitted that ALT Balaji has totally copied their concept and infringed their copyright and thus, liable for consequences as per Sections 51 and 52 of the Copyright Act. They further place their reliance on the case R.G. Anand v Deluxe Films wherein it was held that It is not necessary that the alleged infringement should be an exact or verbatim copy of the original, but it resembles with the original in a large measure is sufficient to indicate that it is a copied.”

After considering all the facts and circumstances, the Telangana High Court set aside the interim injunction imposed by the trial court. 

Case Name- Pride Media Vs ALT Digital Media Entertainment (ALT Balaji) and Ors. 

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