HC restrains satellite release of Jannat 2

Mumbai: Taking into account the findings of Film Writers` Association that there had been a blatant violation of copyright infringement in the recently released Bollywood film "Jannat 2", the Bombay High Court has granted an ad-interim injunction against its satellite release.

The Film Writers` Association had earlier held that the film was based on independent writer Kapil Chopra`s original script for "Zero", which he had registered in 2007, and that the makers of Jannat-2 did not give him the credit for the same.

Restraining the satellite release of the film till September 10, Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar said in their August 21 order that the ad-interim injunction was passed without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties.

The judges said the final order on the notice of motion in the suit shall be passed after hearing the parties on September 5.

Chopra had contended that he had approached the Film Writers Association by a letter dated April 26 this year with a grievance that he had registered his script "Zero" with them (Association) on November 12, 2007, and that the film `Jannat 2` was a clear infringement of this script.

On May 3, when the matter was heard, the ad-interim injunction was not granted on the ground that the film was about to be released in theatres and that the comparison between the story of the impugned film and the script of the appellant (Kapil Chopra) may be made after its release.

As the film has now been released, Chopra`s counsel requested for ad-interim injunction.

The respondents opposed his prayer and submitted that the previous court order of July 9 which had asked them (respondents) to deposit Rs 10 lakh as a condition for satellite release of the film may be continued.

However, the court took into the account the findings of the Dispute Settlement Committee of the Film Writers` Association which concluded that there were "striking similarities" between `Jannat-2` and the script written by Kapil Chopra.

The Committee was of the opinion that the film was not an original creation and that there was a blatant infringement of Copyright by the director and producers of `Jannat 2`.

"Chopra should have got due credit in the film for his contribution and creation but a production house of such repute not only cheated him of the fame and due recognition that he could have gained but also failed to pay him remuneration for his script and for years of his non-stop creative assistance and inputs that he kept infusing in the script and story sessions with the director," the Committee observed.

According to the findings, the film was largely based on Chopra`s script and went on to become a hit.

The Committee also indicated that the amount of compensation to be paid to Chopra should be on the basis of the rules of minimum wages of the Film Writers` Association and the said amount due would be a sum of Rs 9.62 lakh.