Gujarat High Court: Copyright Act | No Infringement U/S 51 If Person Holds Certificate By Registrar Or License By Owner


The Gujarat High Court recently in the case Maheshbhai @ Kanbhai Haribhai Sojitra v/s State Of Gujarat observed and has explained that when a person uses without the permission of the license owner or the Registrar, or any product, it amounts to an infringement of copyright as under Section 51 of the Act. However, no infringement is committed, when the person is holding a certificate issued by the Registrar of Copyright.
The bench comprising of Justice Niral Mehta observed while hearing an application challenging the FIR filed by Respondent No. 2. Thus, it was averred averred that the FIR was an ‘abuse of process of law’ and filed with a view to oust the Applicant from the business. Further, under section 51, if any person without a license granted by the owner of the copyright or the Registrar does anything, it would amount to a infringement. In the instant case, a certificate has been issued by the applicant by the Registrar of Copyright and therefore, according to him, there was no infringement. Additionally, the police officers had invoked Section 64 of the Copyright Act to seize the material in question and as per the applicant, the same was a ‘sheer non-application of mind.’
The application was opposed by the Respondent 2 by relying on sections 44, Section 45, Section 51, Section 63 and Section 64 of the Act which largely pertain to the register of the copyright, how any interested person can apply for the copyright and infringement of such copyrights.
While perusing these contentions, Justice Mehta explained that a bare perusal of Section 51 of the said Act says that if any person uses without the permission of the licence owner or from the Registrar, any product would be amounting to infringement of copyright. In the present case, the applicant being an holder of certificate issued by the Registrar of Copyright.
The Court keeping in view these provisions the ingredients of section 51 were not satisfied, prima facie. Also, it was noticed that invocation of Section 64 of the Act was a ‘sheer non-application of mind’ by the police with the clarification.
Adding to it, it stated that because Section 64 of the said Act is not an offence, but the power envisaged to the police or Investigating Officer to seize the material and if any infringement is found for which, there cannot be any FIR.
Accordingly, the court found that the Applicant sought permission to withdraw his application as it had become infructuous. The Single Judge Bench granted the same.