Case Law Details

Case Name : Taxmann Allied Services Pvt. Ltd. Vs Casansaar Web Solution Pvt. Ltd. (Delhi High Court)
Appeal Number : CS (OS) No. 3400/2015
Date of Judgement/Order : 30/11/2015
Related Assessment Year :

Brief of the case:

In the case of Taxmann Allied Services Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Casansaar Web Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Honble Delhi HC granted ad interim injunction and restrained the defendant from continuing with the infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright in its editorial comments/case head notes. Court also issued direction to remove all the existing copied content.

Facts of the case:

  • Plaintiff is a company and is a leading publisher known for high standard, accuracy and timely publishing of information and whose publications in the field of tax, corporate and commercial laws.
  • Plaintiff is popular with its target readership comprising of various tax & corporate
  • Plaintiff is continuously publishing well known journals which are highly popular and sold all over India.
  • With the advent of the internet/web-technology in India, the plaintiff has been publishing case law reports (decisions with its head notes) on its website which is available to its paid subscribers.
  • Defendant is a private limited company which owns the website
  • The case of the plaintiff against the defendant is that towards the end of July, 2015 it came to the knowledge of the plaintiff that its editorial comments/ head notes (factual summary and case ratio given under the ‘Held’ section) had been fully copied by the defendant in large number of cases and these were available on its website.
  • According to a preliminary view, about 1487 cases out of about 2800 cases (with citations) uploaded by the defendant in the last 4 years (that is, on average about 51% for 4 years since 2012 but higher in 2014 and 2015 being about 85%-90% in these 2 years).
  • Aggrieved from this, legal notices were sent to the defendant but no heed was paid by defendant towards legal notices of the p
  • Thereafter plaintiff had filed a suit for permanent injunction under Rule XXXIX Order 1 & 2, Civil Procedure Code for restraining infringement of copyright (in editorial comments/ headnotes to cases) and unfair competition and for damages etc. against the defendant.

Contention of the plaintiff:

  • These editorial comments/case head notes are developed independently by qualified & skilled editorial team of professionals and qualify as original ‘literary works’ under Section 2(o) of the Copyright Act, 1957 and are entitled to copyright protection under Sections 13 and 14(a) of the Act and hence, the exclusive right to use thereof vests in the plaintiff only.
  • It is illegal to use the same without the authority of the plaintiff.
  • The infringement of literary works by defendant can be seen in the example of two head notes produced before court.

Held by the Court:

  • Perusal of the above cases shows that the head notes of the defendant are almost similar to that of the plaintiff.
  • The plaintiff has been able to make out a strong prima facie case for grant of ad interim.
  • Defendant is restrained from continuing with the infringement of plaintiff’s copyright in its editorial comments/case Head-notes till next date.
  • Defendant is directed to remove the existing infringing material from its website, which may amount to infringement of plaintiff’s copyright as claimed.
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June 2021