The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by the Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution (PSRPI) challenging a single judge's order dismissing the institution's application seeking an ad-interim injunction to restrain Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) from infringing its copyright relating to Kudiyarasu newspaper and other scripts, books and publications.

In its judgment, a Division Bench consisting of Justices F.M.Ibrahim Kalifulla and N.Kirubakaran said there was no right of reservation made by Thanthai Periyar himself prohibiting reproduction of any of his speeches published in Kudiyarasu.

Earlier, the PSRPI had filed an application seeking a temporary injunction to restrain the PDK from infringing the copyright of the institution, a registered society, relating to the newspaper and other scripts, books and publications.

The applicant, represented by its secretary K.Veeramani, contended that since E.V.Ramasamy (Periyar) himself founded the society and endowed it with the property, all his writings that appeared in the newspaper would vest with the society.

In its counter, the PDK said PSRPI could not claim any copyright as E.V.Ramasamy never assigned his copyright in favour of anyone. By an order dated July 27 last year, the Judge dismissed the application.

The Bench said the PSRPI had not come forward with any definite claim of copyright on any particular material of its own while seeking for a prayer against the PDK. Reading sections 17 and 18 of the Copyright Act together, one who claimed any copyright of a literary work by an author had to establish such conditions contained in the provisions, such as the employment of the author in a newspaper publication under a contract of service and assignment of ownership of such literary work and its copyright in favour of any other person.

Admittedly, the compilations were the literary works of Periyar published from 1925 onwards in a weekly called Kudiyarasu. If the compilations were not the original works of PSRPI, it could not claim any ownership of copyright in such compilations while seeking for a restraint against PDK. A reading of the prayer also did not show that the appellant claimed any such right in respect of the said compilations of the literary works of Periyar.

The Bench vacated interim order of status quo granted while entertaining the appeal.