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Vasudeo Ganesh Joshi Vs. Anupram Haribhai Trivedi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContract
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 222 of 1918
Judge
Reported in(1920)22BOMLR808; 57Ind.Cas.592
AppellantVasudeo Ganesh Joshi
RespondentAnupram Haribhai Trivedi
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
copyright-fine arts copyright act (25 & 26 vic. c. 18) - the act does not extend to india-copyright in pictures-common taw-no copyright at common law-indian contract act (ix of 1872), section 23.;the pine arts copyright act (25 & 26 vic. c. 68) does not extend to any part of the british dominions outside the united kingdom.; graves & co. v. gorrie [1903] a.c. 496, followed.;in england, before the statute of anne (8 anno c. 19), there was no copyright at common law for an author, or a publisher or a painter in his published work.;jefferys v. boosey (1854) 4 h.i.c. 815 and macmillan v. khun bahadur shamsul ulama m. (1895) i.l.r. 19 bom. 557, followed. - .....but the defendant contends that the contract came within the provisions of section 23 of the indian contract act and as the agreement is fraudulent, or involved or implied injury to some person, its object or consideration is unlawful, and the contract is, therefore, void. the defendant must depend for this contention on the argument that as there was in england a firm which had a copyright in this picture, it was a fraud on them to print the picture in india.2. it was first contended that the fine arts copyright act of 1862 (25 & 26 vic. c. 68) had been extended to british india, but it is quite clear from the decision in graves & co. limited v. gorrie [1903] a.c. 496 to which we have been referred, that the act does not extend to any part of the british dominions outside the.....
Judgment:

Norman Macleod, Kt., C.J.

1. The plaintiff sued to recover Rs. 1,800 as damages from the defendant for refusing to carry out the contract to prepare and supply to the plaintiff 20,000 copies of the plaint picture. The breach is admitted, but the defendant contends that the contract came within the provisions of Section 23 of the Indian Contract Act and as the agreement is fraudulent, or involved or implied injury to some person, its object or consideration is unlawful, and the contract is, therefore, void. The defendant must depend for this contention on the argument that as there was in England a firm which had a copyright in this picture, it was a fraud on them to print the picture in India.

2. It was first contended that the Fine Arts Copyright Act of 1862 (25 & 26 Vic. c. 68) had been extended to British India, but it is quite clear from the decision in Graves & Co. Limited v. Gorrie [1903] A.C. 496 to which we have been referred, that the Act does not extend to any part of the British Dominions outside the United Kingdom.

3. Then it is alleged that at common law an author, a publisher or a painter has a copyright in his productions. That question was decided in Jefferys v. Boosey (1854) 4 H.L.C. 815, and in MacMillan v. Khan Bahadur Shamsul Ulama, M. Zaka ILR (1895) . Bom. 557, Farran J. said:-

I agree with the learned Judge that it must be assumed by Courts of law dealing with questions of copyright that no such right existed at common law before the Statute of Anne (8 Anne o. 19).

4. The judgments in Graves & Co. Limited v. Gorrie and Jefferys v. Boosey are most clear on that subject. They were based on this reasoning that as soon as an author, a publisher, or a painter, gave to the world what he had written or created, it became public property, and there was no right at common law which protected him from his works being copied by any one who chose to do so. It appears, therefore, that this contract does not come within Section 23 of the Indian Contract Act. The plaintiff is entitled to sue for damages for breach. The appeal, therefore, must be dismissed with costs.


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