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Broadcast of copyright work – De minimis infringement and use for review


25th March

The Delhi High Court has held that an assignee of copyrights is not required to implead original owner and therefore the suit cannot be dismissed for non-compliance of Section 61 of the Copyright Act which provides that the licensee is required to implead the owner of the copyright as a defendant.

It observed that, in view of the detailed assignment in favour of the plaintiff, the plaintiff is the deemed owner of the copyright work with the right to grant licenses.

The High Court, further, granted injunction while rejecting the defendant’s pleas, including that excerpts of the copyright work were used for reporting current events and for the review in the process of dissemination of news and hence there is no infringement of the copyright.

Benefit of Section 52(1)(a)(ii) of the Copyright Act was hence denied by the Court noting that the copyright work was used in a way to enhance the programmes of the defendant.

Observing that the defendant in Super Cassette Industries v. Shreya Broadcasting, broadcasted copyrighted works for more than 500 minutes, the Court also rejected the contention that the compensatory damages cannot be awarded as infringement was de minimis. Compensatory damage of ₹21,00,600 was held as reasonable.
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