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Facts available in public domain not protected by Copyright Act: Meghna Gulzar

Inspiration: Director Meghna Gulzar (right) with Laxmi Agarwal at the launch of her film Chhapaak.

Inspiration: Director Meghna Gulzar (right) with Laxmi Agarwal at the launch of her film Chhapaak.  

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'Chhapaak director' urges HC to dismiss case against her

Meghna Gulzar, writer and director of the film Chhapaak, on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that information available in the public domain is not protectable under the Copyright Act and urged a suit against her, alleging copyright infringement, be dismissed.

Ms. Gulzar’s film, starring actors Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey, is slated for release on January 10.

Chhapaak is based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, who has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to order the central and State governments to regulate the sale of acid. She has also advocated the setting up of a more efficient process for the prosecutions of acid attackers. Ms. Agarwal is the founder of the Stop Acid Sale campaign which has garnered nation-wide support.

A suit was filed in the HC by Rakesh Bharti on December 26, demanding credit as a screenplay writer for the movie. He has also sought a temporary order and injunction from the court, restraining the entire team of the film from releasing and exhibiting it unless appropriate credit is given to him. Mr. Bharti has appealed that the court see the film and compare it to the story and screenplay written by him.

Ms. Gulzar’s affidavit, filed through advocates Ameet Naik and Madhu Gadodia, reads, “Mr. Bharti has no right in his favour to make any copyrightable work based on the life of Laxmi Agarwal.”

The 17-page affidavit says, “Copyright protection cannot be extended to information that constitutes facts available in public domain and is based on events that have factually transpired. Protection under the Copyright Act does not extend to ideas/concepts.”

Ms. Gulzar has denied the statements, submission, insinuation and contention raised by Mr. Bharti.

Her advocates contended, “The suit has been filed with ulterior motives to gain undue publicity and to obstruct the release of the film and has failed to make any case of infringement of copyright.”

The matter will be heard by a Single Bench of Justice S.C. Gupte on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 8:42:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/facts-available-in-public-domain-not-protected-by-copyright-act/article30507795.ece

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