SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
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any rate so long as it is clear what is meant, no harm is done Finally, in concluding as we do that the defendants used the play pro tanto, we need not charge their witnesses with perjury. With so many sources before them they might quite honestly forget what they took; nobody knows the origin of his inventions; memory and fancy merge even in adults. Yet unconscious plagiarism is actionable quite as much as deliberate.” “The play is the sequence of the confluents of all these means, bound together in an inseparable unity; it may often be most effectively pirated by leaving out the speech, for which a substitute can be found, which keeps the whole dramatic meaning. That as it appears to us is exactly what the defendants have done here; the dramatic significance of thevwcenes we have recited is the same, almost to the letter It is enough that substantial parts were lifted; no plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.”
In the aforesaid case the Court held that there was no plagiarism or violation of the copyright.
In the case of Shipman v. R. K. O. Radio Pictures (1) which holding that an idea cannot be the subject of copyright great stress was laid on the impression which the audience forms after seeing the copy. In this connection, Menton, J. Observed as follows.—
“The Court concluded that it was the idea or impression conveyed to the audience which was the determining factor, and since the impressions were the same, held there was an infringement From this case stand the modern law of copyright cases, with the result that it is now held that ideas are not copyrightable but that sequence of events is; the identity of impression must be capable of sensory perception by the audience”.
In the case of Michael V. Moretti v. People of the State of Illinois(2) It was held that law does not recognise property rights in ideas but only in the expression of the same in a particular manner adopted by the author. A writ of certiorari was taken against this judgment to the U.S. Supreme Court which was denied. To the
- (1) 100 F 2d 533.
- (2) 248 F 2d 799=356 U.S. 947 242
same effect is an earlier decision in the case of Funkhouser v. Loew’s(l) where the following relevant observations were made on the various aspects of the matter:
“We are also mindful that the test used to determine infringement in cases of this case is whether ordinary observation of the motion picture photoplay would cause it to be recognised as a picturisation of the compositions allow ed to have been copied, and not whether by some hypercritical dissection of sentences and incidents seeming similarities are shown to exist It recognised that there were similar incidents in the productions, but such similarities were due to the nature of the subject matter and not to copying. Both the motion picture and plain tiff’s story ‘old John Santa Fe’ were set in the same geo graphical area and both had the typical western back ground Appellant’s attempt to show similarities by comparing a word or phrase taken from his’ manuscript with the word or words appearing in the lyrics of a song in appellee’s motion picture is not in conformity with the