Delhi HC seeks Dharma's response in ISRA's plea seeking royalty for performance in 'Gunjan Saxena'

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has asked Dharma Productions to file a response to the Indian Singers Rights Association's plea seeking royalty for the commercial exploitation of their performance in "Gunjan Saxena- The Kargil Girl."

A single-judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta issued summons to Karan Johar-owned production house Dharma Productions on the plea filed by Indian Singers Rights Association's suit.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on March 12, 2021.

However, the court deferred passing any order/directions to the defendant to deposit the amount till the next date of hearing.

"Considering the fact that the rival contentions and the underlying agreements are yet to be considered by this Court, this Court, at this stage, is deferring passing any order/directions to the defendant to deposit the amount till the next date of hearing before which date parties will complete their pleadings," the court said.

The court was hearing the Indian Singers Rights Association's suit filed by the plaintiff seeking enforcement of its performers' rights which were introduced in the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 by amending Section 38 and introducing Section 38A and 38B to the Copyright Act.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant released the cinematograph film 'Gunjan Saxena- The Kargil Girl' commercially utilising three performances of the members of the plaintiff society which were originally part of earlier cinematograph films.

The plaintiff on becoming aware of the infringement of its rights issued a legal notice to the defendant claiming that the plaintiff's members had the copyright in respect of the performers' rights in 'Ae Ji O Ji' from the cinematograph film "Ram Lakhan", 'Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai' from the cinematograph film "Khalnayak" and 'Saajan ji Gher Aaye' from the film "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai".

According to the counsel for the plaintiff, since as per the scheme arrived at, the tariff for the performers' rights is fixed, the defendant is bound to deposit the amount before this Court pending final decision.

Plaintiff claims its rights on the basis of Section 2(q) and Section 2(qq) of the Copyright Act, which defines the 'performance' and 'performer' as also sections 38A and 38B of the Copyright Act.

Counsel for the defendant, Dharma Productions claimed that the studio performances which do not go live, are not considered to be live performances and in the present case, since the performance is in studios that do not go live, the plaintiff's members cannot claim performers' rights.

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