SpicyIP Tidbits: Sobhraj enforcing his IP rights.

Talking about people who are aware of their IP rights, here is (in)famous Charles Sobhraj is all set to sue filmmaker, Prawaal Raman, who is currently filming a movie titled ‘Charles and I’ based on the convict’s life. He has already sent the filmmaker a notice in this regard.

After evading police for several years, Sobhraj is currently serving a sentence of life imprisonment in Nepal for the murder of an American tourist. IBN reports that earlier this week Sobhraj through his lawyer sent a legal notice to the Mumbai-based People Pictures company claiming that no movie based on his character, his life or any resemblance thereof could be made without his permission and personal authorisation. Sobhraj has also for the same reasons protested any press releases in this regard. Reasons cited for this notice are that a false portrayal of Sobhraj in the movie (including showing him committing any crimes he has not been convicted for in India) could in all likelihood harm him and his reputation.

The notice however, also added that Sobhraj was willing to allow the filming of the movie on “mutually satisfactory terms”. SpicyIP will definitely be keeping a watch on this story, especially since Sobhraj claims he has faith in the Indian Judiciary, since he has got “justice” here previously.


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2 thoughts on “SpicyIP Tidbits: Sobhraj enforcing his IP rights.”

  1. Anonymous Coward

    I beg to disagree. The notice he has sent has nothing to do with any IP rights recognised in India. The only relevant IP right that I can think of is the right to publicity, and that is neither invoked in the notice sent to the filmmakers, nor is it applicable in India (as far as I am aware).

    There are three grounds, that I can see, on which the legal notice is predicated: right to fair trial, right to privacy, and the right against defamation. As far as I am aware, only the first could possibly act as a reason for prior restraint of speech. In other words, the filmmakers cannot be prevented from making a film; they can only be sued for it later. (See the Auto Shankar case: http://openarchive.in/judis/11212.htm)

    It is ridiculous to assert that you need someone’s permission before making a film about them, when they are a public figure. Even the right to privacy can be overridden by public interest considerations (as laid down in Kharak Singh).

    Could you please clarify as to what “IP rights” you are referring?

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