Mr. Sampath a reputed ad jingle composer dragged the producer and composer of the movie Krazzy 4 to the Court on the grounds that his tunes had been used without his permission. He prayed for an injunction preventing the use of his music in the movie as well as compensation and received both.
Mr. Sampath has shot down rumours of this being a publicity stunt stating that his actions were aimed at reclaiming the dignity of young composers who are taken advantage of in big bad Bollywood. The makers of Krazzy 4 fail to see things this way arguing that the timing of the complaint (a few days before the release of the film) and the complainant’s unwillingness to negotiate show an intent to harass.
Relevant portions of Rakesh Roshan’s statement to the press are quoted below:
“I had liked the music piece of the ad I saw on TV in which Hrithik is performing as a brand ambassador for Sony Ericsson. For the purpose of using some portion of the said music I requested Sony Ericsson and in response I was granted permission of Sony Ericsson by the letter dated 13 December 2007 which I reproduce as attached. Consequently in good faith and relying on authorisation of Sony Ericsson as per the attached letter I re corded with the required modification retaining only 4 bars of the THUMP track. I was surprised and shocked on 24 March 2008 to receive a notice from the solicitors of Ram Sampath containing allegations of infringement of his work. I contacted Sony Ericsson and was told that they issued the letter by mistake and in fact they didn’t have the rights. Before I could think of any solution, Mr Sampath filed a suit in the Bombay High Court framing all wild and frivolous allegations of infringing his copyright of the said music piece of Thump. It was really a shocking development because instead of approaching me to know the facts he straight away went to court. It was evident from going through the plaint and annexures there that he was preparing the suit for a long time. It is interesting to note that the Krazzy 4 music was launched in February 2008 and the promos containing the alleged infringed work were released on TV on all channels at the end of February 2008. All these days Ram Sampath chose to wait and instituted the suit in high court just a few days before the release of the film This was a well planned scheme to harass me. I was required to be in court when the prints of the film had already been delivered all over the world. Finding myself caught in a helpless and to keep up my commitment to distribute and respect feelings of the audience I had no way but to succumb to the pressure and to compromise on the matter, thereby seeing that the film is released on the announced date. “
I’m not going to try to understand whether this is a fight for justice or a suit meant to harass but I would like to point out that the speed with which the Court passed an order in this case (24 days) is inspiring. This kind of responsiveness towards protecting IPR will encourage people to take it more seriously.