Recently, the Commercial Judge of Patiala House Court passed an order allowing the producers of the movie “Ruslaan” to continue with its release. The judge ruled that no copyright could be invoked for the title of the movie, as it is not an original literary work.
The producer of the 2009 movie “Ruslan,” Mr. Jagdish Sharma, had filed a suit before the commercial court against K.K. Radha Mohan, the producer of the upcoming movie “Ruslaan.” He claimed that the new movie not only copied the title but also the entire story, thereby violating the Copyright Act.
The teaser of the movie was released in April 2023, with a scheduled release in October-November during the festive season. However, it became entangled in litigation, leading to a delay in its release. The court’s decision brings relief to K.K. Radha Mohan, with hopes for a quick release on the screens.
The Hon’ble District Judge of the Commercial Court at Patiala House, New Delhi, dismissed the injunction, stating that no copyright subsists in the title of a literary work, as it does not qualify as an original literary work under section 13 of the Copyright Act. The court’s opinion was that the title “Ruslaan” did not meet the criteria for an original literary work since it used a common word. Moreover, this common title had been used for another film as well. Therefore, the title could not be considered a literary work.
Furthermore, the court observed that Mr. Mohan’s upcoming movie was generating more publicity than the release of the previous one. Due to the long passage of time, the memory of the movie “Ruslan” (2009) had faded in the public’s memory. Hence, it couldn’t be assumed that people would associate Mr. Mohan’s movie with the one produced in 2009. In light of the overall facts and circumstances, there did not appear to be any likelihood of confusion or a connection for potential buyers, audience, or viewers. Therefore, the upcoming movie was not in violation of copyright laws.