Inspirations, adaptations and drama over IP rights

By Manisha Singh and Shristi Bansal, LexOrbis
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India’s illustrious Bollywood entertainment industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, invariably leading to a rise in legal disputes. Traditionally, intellectual property-related disputes were scanty and solved without much ado. However, with the paradigm shift in the consciousness and commercialization of IP, and the advent of investment from corporate giants and foreign studios, the courts have been swamped with media and entertainment-centric disputes. The international entertainment markets are now recognizing Bollywood as a potential partner for creative alliances, which is one of the reasons Bollywood is waking up to copyright infringements.

Manisha Singh
Manisha Singh

Remakes are an integral part of Bollywood. A remake of a movie is usually based on the earlier story, with modernization, updated elements and/ or additional cultural features suited to the sensibilities of the target audience, in order to differ from the original.

Definitions

Movies fall under the definition of a “cinematograph film” under section 2(f) of the Copyright Act, 1957, and the copyright is held by the “author”, who is the producer of the movie. If a movie which is not in the public domain is to be remade, the filmmaker has to enter into an assignment or a licence agreement with the “author” under section 30 of the act.

Adaptation is another aspect of “use” of copyrighted works, over which the author is given exclusive rights under section 14 of the act. A work is said to be an adaptation of another when the second work is clearly and visibly a derivative of the earlier work. The most popular kind of adaptation is the conversion of novels into motion pictures.

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Manisha Singh is a founding partner of LexOrbis, where Shristi Bansal is an associate.

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