SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Page 36 of 36
stand may be exchanged or extended and embellishments may be introduced in the attempt to show that the plot in the film is entirely original and bears no resemblance whatever to the stage play. All such matters fell for consideration in relation to the question whether the relevant part of the plot in the film is merely a colourable imitation of the essential structure of the stage play. If the treatment of the theme in the stage play has been made the basic of one of the themes in the film story and the essential structure of that treatment is clearly and distinctly identifiable in the film story, it is not necessary, it seems to me, for the Court to examine all the several themes embraced within the plot of the film in order to decide whether infringement has been established. In the attempt to show that he is not guilty of infringement of copyright, it is always possible for a person intending to take advantage of the intellectual effort and labours of another to so develop his own product that it covers a wider field than the area included within the scope of the earlier product, and in the common area covered by the two productions
to introduce changes in order to disguise the attempt at plagiarism. If a reappraisal of the facts in the present case had been open in this court, I am not sure that I would not have differed from the view taken on the facts by the High Court, but as the matter stands, the trial Court as well as the High Court have concurred in the finding that such similarities as exist between the stage play “Hum Hindustani” and the film “New Delhi” do not make out a case of infringement. The dissimilarities, in their opinion, are so material that it is not possible to say that the appellant’s copyright has been infringed. This Court is extremely reluctant to interfere with concurrent findings of fact reached by the Courts below and for that reason I would allow the judgment under appeal to stand. In another, and perhaps a clearer case, it may be necessary for this Court to interfere and remove the impression which may have gained ground that the copyright belonging to an author can be readily infringed by making immaterial changes, introducing insubstantial differences and enlarging the scope of the original theme so that a veil of apparent dissimilarity is thrown around the work now produced. The court will look strictly at not only blatant examples of copying but also at reprehensible attempts at colourable imitation.
The appeal is dismissed, but without any order as to costs.
P.H.P. Appeal dismissed.