Super Cassette Series Ltd (T-Series) has served a legal notice on Zee Network and ETC Network asking them to stop using its software, claiming violation of intellectual property rights (IPR) and threatening to initiate legal action against the networks. Meanwhile, ETC and Zee Networks, on the other hand, have strongly denied any such violation and have in turn claimed non-payment of legitimate dues amounting to Rs 7 crore by T-Series.
In the notice, dated June 27, 2006, T-Series had asked both the Networks “…to refrain from broadcasting any of my client’s (T-Series) audio-visual songs and/or any sound recordings of my client through your channels and request you to withdraw my client’s software from your entire TV Network…”
“Both the Networks have been using our songs beyond the permitted time period. We asked them to stop that. But they didn’t listen to us. So, we were forced to issue legal notice to them asking to immediately stop using our software in any way to protect our legitimate copyright,” explained Vinod Bhanushali, VP, Marketing & Promotion, T-Series.
ETC, on the other hand, in a public notice claimed that T-Series had not paid dues worth Rs 7 crore to it and that was why it had stopped dealing with T-Series “…on account of commercial reasons and owing to non-payment of our legitimate dues amounting to over Rs 7 crore, we have with immediate effect stopped accepting bookings for telecasting of film trailers and promos of film and non-film music from Super Cassette Industries Ltd (T-Series).”
“We have blacklisted T-Series due to a commercial dispute. We are urging producers to get in touch with us directly in case they have difficulty. We tried our best to amicably resolve the issue, but T Series was not cooperating and hence the ban,” said Ashish Kaul, Senior VP, Zee Network.
However, T-Series claimed that it had cancelled all bookings with both the Networks only from July 1, 2006. “It is Super Cassette Industries Ltd who has stopped patronising ETC Networks Ltd on account of them being rank infringers, whereas in their public notice they have tried to mislead the general public by attempting to present a contrary picture,” the company maintained.
Replying to the public notice, T-Series again issued a rejoinder holding that there was no liability on the part of T-Series and in turn claimed a compensation of Rs 10 crore from both the Networks. “In an agreement dated May 15, 2006, ETC Network Ltd has acknowledged and accepted its liability for payment of compensation/damages aggregating Rs 57,350,000 to our company against unauthorised usage of our copyrighted material. They have also agreed to adjust the aforesaid amount against advertisement dues receivable by them,” it said in the rejoinder.
However, ETC Channel CEO, Ashish Chakravorty, claimed, “There is absolutely no such agreement reached with T-Series. Because we have banned them from our channels for non-payment, they have taken a personal note of it and are making false claims.”
When asked what course T-Series was taking, Chakravorty said, “We are trying to settle the issue amicably outside the court as it makes no sense to invest money and time in court. But if T-Series does not agree to pay our money, then we will be forced to take legal action to get our money.”
T-Series’ Bhanushali, on the other hand, said, “We have issued legal notice to the Networks. If we don’t get any satisfactory reply within 15 days then we have no option but to take legal action against them.”