Copying a film? Mechanical or substantial?

The Delhi High Court has rejected MRF’s prayer for an interim relief to restrain Metro Tyres from airing their advertisement ‘Bazooka Radial Tyres’

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 18, 2019 10:03 AM
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A single bench of the Delhi High Court in the matter of MRF Limited versus Metro Tyres Limited has rejected MRF’s prayer for an interim relief to restrain Metro Tyres from airing their audio-visual advertisement titled ‘Bazooka Radial Tyres’, which was alleged by MRF to be a frame-by-frame copy of their audio-visual advertisement titled ‘MRF NV Series presents REVZ’. 

 

The High Court of Delhi after applying the copyright infringement test laid down by the Supreme Court in R.G. Anand’s case and relying on a judgment of the Calcutta High Court in Shree Venkatesh Films has rightly observed that a ‘cinematograph film’ in its whole is more or greater than the sum of its parts and a copy of the film should substantially, fundamentally, essentially and materially resemble or reproduce the original film for a case of copyright infringement to be made out. 

 

After watching both the advertisements in question, and analysing and interpreting the provisions of copyright laws along with the Berne Convention, the High Court of Delhi held that the expressions behind both the advertisements were different as MRF’s advertisement focuses on the manufacturing process and the radial design of the tyre, whereas the focus of Metro Tyres’ advertisement is on the durability of the tyre in all terrains. Thus, no interim relief was granted to the plaintiff, MRF Limited, at this stage. 

 

Speaking about the order, Ms Petal Chandhok, Partner of Trust Legal, Advocates & Consultants said, “In all alleged instances of copyright infringement of cinematograph films or advertisements it becomes the duty of the court to closely compare the substance, foundation and the kernel of the two works and consider whether one is by and large a copy of the other or not.” 

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