The Supreme Court on Friday declined to interfere with an order of the Madras High Court rejecting a petition of the Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution (PSRPI) seeking to restrain the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) from infringing its copyright relating to ‘Kudiyarasu' newspaper and other scripts, books and publications.

A Bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma, after hearing senior counsel K.K. Venugopal for the PSRPI, dismissed the SLP at the admission stage.

The High Court had held that there was no right of reservation made by Thanthai Periyar himself prohibiting reproduction of any of his speeches published in the weekly ‘Kudiyarasu'. The compilations were the literary works of Periyar published since 1925 in ‘Kudiyarasu.'

It was not in a position to discern creation of any right in favour of the society over the literary works of Periyar, which were published in the weekly between 1925 and 1949.

The special leave petition by the PSRPI, represented by its Secretary K. Veeramani, is directed against this order.

Mr. 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 and could not be used by others.

Mr. Veeramani said the High Court had misdirected itself in holding that the protection available to these works would only be for 25 years after the demise of the author as per the Indian Copyright Act, 1914 and not 60 years as per the prevailing Copyright Act of 1957.

He said the High Court had failed to appreciate that Periyar himself had founded the Trust and endowed all his properties, including intellectual properties, viz his writings in ‘Kudiyarasu' from 1925 onwards, other scripts, books and publications with the trust and hence it would be incorrect to say that Periyar had not reserved his rights over his writings in favour of the Trust.

The claim of the respondents that they had collected the literary works of Periyar from Thanjavur Pagutharivalar Kazhagam and intend to publish the same would infringe the exclusive copyrights of the Trust over the said collections and the writings of Periyar.

The SLP sought quashing of the impugned order and an interim stay of its operation.

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