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Gangavishnu Shrikisondas Vs. Moreshvar Bapuji Hegishte and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectIntellectual Property Rights
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1889)ILR13Bom358
AppellantGangavishnu Shrikisondas
RespondentMoreshvar Bapuji Hegishte and ors.
Excerpt:
copyright - annotated edition, of an ancient religions work--originality--colourablerimitation--injuction-damages--account--act xx of 1847, section 12. - - it has, however, been decided that it is not necessary that the subject-matter of a book must be perfectly new. ' 5. the present case is not precisely similar to jarrold v. ), on the whole we think that the evidence in support of the plaintiff's case is more reliable than that for the defendants, and we hold that the plaintiff is entitled to recover......13 of act xx of 1874 (1), under which it is said the plaintiff is only permitted to recover his books or damages for their detention. it has also been contended that the notice sent by the plaintiff to the defendants on the 28th february, 1887, requiring them to deliver 'all the unsold copies of your said work, together with the price of the coppices already sold,' is not such a notice as is required by section 22. we think, however, that the notice was sufficient, although it demands the price of the sold copies instead of damages, and that the decree is right in ordering an account to be taken. the result of the account will be to give to the plaintiff what he would have obtained as damages if the decree had given relief in that form. we confirm the decree with costs.(1) act xx of.....
Judgment:

Charles Sargent, C.J.

1. The plaintiff in this suit prays for an injunction restraining the defendants from printing and selling copies of a certain religious Sanskrit work on religious observances entitled 'Vrtraj'. He alleges that some years ago he resolved to prepare and publish a new and annotated edition of this book, which is said to be an old book of high authority, and for that purpose obtained the assistance of Pandits, who recast and rearranged the work, introduced various passages from other old Sanskrit books on the same subject, and added foot-notes. The plaint states that the Pandits were for two years engaged in the preparation of this new edition, which was published in December, 1884. The copyright was registered, under Act XXV of 1867, in May 1885.

2. In 1886 the defendants printed and published an edition of the same work, and the plaintiff says that the defendants' edition is substantially a copy of his book; that the defendants have sold it at a reduced price, and have thus materially injured his copyright.

3. There is no dispute as to the character of plaintiff's work. It is a reproduction of an old book with valuable additions from other works introduced, and foot-notes appended where they are considered necessary or desirable.

4. Now the first question which arises is whether for such a work as this the plaintiff is entitled to a copyright at all. It has been argued that there is really nothing original in the plaintiff's book, and that he is, therefore, not entitled to copyright. It has, however, been decided that it is not necessary that the subject-matter of a book must be perfectly new. A new arrangement of old matter will give a right to the protection afforded by the law of copyright. In Jarrold v. Houlston 3 K. & J. 708 the question was raised as to whether the author of a school-book -Brewer's Guide to Science--was entitled to copyright. That was a book containing, in the form of question and answer, explanations collected from various scientific works of certain simple scientific doctrines. The Vice-Chancellor says: 'That an author has a copyright in a work of this description is beyond all doubt. If any one by pains and labour collects and reduces into the form of a systematic course of instruction those questions which he may find ordinary persons asking in reference to the common phenomena of life, with answers to those questions, and explanations of those phenomena, whether such explanations and answers are furnished by his own recollection of his former general reading, or out of works consulted by him for the express purpose, the reduction of questions so collected, with such answers under certain heads and in a scientific form, is amply sufficient to constitute an original work of which the copyright will lie protected. Therefore, I can have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the book now in question is in that sense an original work, and entitled to protection.'

5. The present case is not precisely similar to Jarrold v. Houlston 3 K. &J.; 708 . but we think the principles laid down by the Vice-Chancellor cover it. We have in this case the republication of an old text with a large number of passages from other old writings on the same subject interpolated, and a number of foot-notes added by Ike plaintiff or by those employed by him. The work must have involved a considerable amount of labour, and we have no doubt that it is original in a sense that entitles the plaintiff lo copyright.

6. The next question is, whether the defendants have been guilty of infringing the plaintiff's copyright. This was scarcely contested before its, that their work was not an infringement in form. In fact, the defendants' own case is that the plaintiff has copied their work with only colourable alterations by getting possession of the manuscript of their intended edition and anticipating them in the publication, and if that was so, then of course the plaintiff has no right to the relief he claims in this suit. But have the defendants proved this allegation? What is their evidence (His Lordship examined the evidence at length, and continued:), On the whole we think that the evidence in support of the plaintiff's case is more reliable than that for the defendants, and we hold that the plaintiff is entitled to recover. It has been argued on behalf of the defendants that the decree of the Court below, in directing an account to be token of the net profits made by the sale by the defendants of the plaintiff's book gives a relief which is not consistent with Sections 12 and 13 of Act XX of 1874 (1), under which it is said the plaintiff is only permitted to recover his books or damages for their detention. It has also been contended that the notice sent by the plaintiff to the defendants on the 28th February, 1887, requiring them to deliver 'all the unsold copies of your said work, together with the price of the coppices already sold,' is not such a notice as is required by Section 22. We think, however, that the notice was sufficient, although it demands the price of the sold copies instead of damages, and that the decree is right in ordering an account to be taken. The result of the account will be to give to the plaintiff what he would have obtained as damages if the decree had given relief in that form. We confirm the decree with costs.

(1) Act XX of 1847, Section '12.--All copies of any book wherein there shall be copyright, and of which entry shall have been made in the said registry book, and which shall have been unlawfully printed without the consent of the registered proprietor of such copyright in writing under his hand first obtained, shall be deemed to be the property of the proprietor of such copyright, and who shall be registered as such; and such registered proprietor shall, after demand thereof in writing, he entitled to sue for and recover the same or damages for the detention thereof.

13. - If the case be within the jurisdiction of any of the Courts of Judicature established by Her Majesty's Charter, such registered proprietor shall be entitled to sue for and recover such copies, or damages for the detention thereof, in an action of detinue from any party who shall detain the same, or to sue for, and recover damages for the conversion thereof, in an action of trover; and if the case be within the jurisdiction of any Zilla Court or other local Court as aforesaid, the registered proprietor shall be entitled to sue for and recover such copies, or damages for the detention or conversion thereof, in such form as is in use in the said zilla, or other local Courts, for the recovery of specific personal property, or damages for the detention or conversion thereof to the defendants on the 28th February, 1887, requiring them to deliver 'all the unsold copies of your said work, together with the price of the copies already sold,' is not such a notice as is required by Section 22. We think, however, that the notice was sufficient, although it demands the price of the sold copies instead of damages, and that the decree is right in ordering an account to be taken. The result of the account will be to give to the plaintiff what he would have obtained as damages if the decree had given relief in that form. We confirm the decree with costs.


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