Laboratories & Anr Vs. Art Commercia Advertising Pvt. Ltd. & Ors 
Insc 385 (13 August
Y.K.Sabharwal Rajendra Babu, J. :
was filed in S.C.Suit No.493 of 1986 in the Bombay City Civil Court, Bombay by Vicco
Laboratories, appellant herein, manufacturers of ayurvedic pharmaceutical
products against defendant Nos. 1 to 4, respondents herein, for a declaration
that the title and format of the suit serial "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi"
exclusively belonged to them and respondents Nos. 1 to 4 have no right thereto
and for permanent injunction restraining the said respondents from making use
of the title or episodes belonging to the petitioners or any episodes hereafter
number of averments germane to this case as set out in the plaint are set out
petitioners carried on business as manufacturers of ayurvedic pharmaceuticals
products, which were sold under the brand name of "Vicco" and have
acquired substantial reputation in the market. The 1st respondent are an
advertising agency and have been the advertising agents in respect of the
products manufactured by the petitioners as aforesaid for number of years. The
2nd respondent is a Director and/or partner of the 1st respondent and has
mainly dealt with the petitioners on behalf of the 1st respondent. Respondents
Nos. 3 & 4 are proprietary concerns of respondent No.2. The 5th respondent
is the Union of India and has been joined as the authority concerning
Television in India in the name and style of Doordarshan,
which is a television media.
petitioners had employed the respondent Nos.1 to 4 as their advertising agents
through the petitioners' sister concern "M/s Modern Advertising
Agency" and "Uta Advertising Agency" and were dealing with the
respondent No.1 mainly through the petitioners Managing Director, G.K.Pendharkar.
In 1984, Doordarshan in order to popularize sponsored serial, undertook the
production of a serial by the name "HUMLOG". The petitioners are also
pioneers in making use of Doordarshan for advertising their products through
the agency of the 1st respondent, approached the 1st respondent to act as their
agents for the purpose of producing a serial which would be shown as
petitioners' sponsored programme. The petitioners agreed to pay the entire
costs of the said production to the said advertising agency and requested it to
look into the matter, employed various persons on behalf of the petitioners and
prepare a suitable serial for them. Pursuant to the said arrangement, the
respondent Nos. 1 to 4 as the agents of the petitioners prepared at the costs
and expenses of the petitioners, a serial entitled "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi".
The petitioners claimed that as a result of the employment of the respondent
Nos. 1 to 4 and the finances paid by them the petitioners are the owners of the
said serial "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" and the title thereof. The first and
second respondents under the arrangement produced about 60 episodes and the
petitioners have spent a crore of rupees for the products and telecast of the
said episodes and have also spent large sums of money on advertising to
popularize the said programme. "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" had gained
popularity and had become one of the most exclusive and popular serial. The
petitioners claimed that the exclusive right to use the title thereof belonged
to them and the 2nd episode of "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" was telecast
without the name of the petitioners being mentioned as sponsors nor was their
advertisement shown. This was due to the negligence of the respondent Nos.1 to
4. But the respondents recovered the cost of production from the petitioners.
Further the said respondents had been recovering the cost of production well in
advance of the serial episodes being actually produced. The petitioners claimed
that they were the real producers and owners of the said serial "Yeh Jo Hai
Zindagi" and the petitioners to the knowledge of the respondents have
entered into an agreement assigning the video rights in the said serial to one
M/s Esquire Distributing and Servicing Pvt. Ltd. on 1.1.1985. The petitioners
though not required to do so, made an ex gratia payment to respondent Nos. 1 to
4 of a portion of the royalty received by them from the said M/s Esquire
Distributing and Servicing Pvt. Ltd.. 1st and 2nd respondents had by their
letter dated 14.12.1984 confirmed that the petitioners have all T.V. and video
rights of the sponsored programme in Hindi "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" and
vest with the petitioners.
original agreement was to have 27 episodes but having regard to the popularity
of the programme the petitioners decided to increase the said serial to 52
episodes and by a letter dated 22.4.1985 the petitioners informed respondent
Nos. 1 and 2 that in the title of the 27th and 28th episodes it has been stated
that it is presented by "Oberoi Films". Some time in May 1985, the
1st respondent proposed to the petitioners that some other products should be
tied up with the serial "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi". However, the
petitioners were not interested in the same as they wanted the serial to
project their products only exclusively and did not agree to any other products
being tied up with the said serial. The respondents on 27.12.1985 alleged that
they were losing Rs.50,000/- to Rs.75,000/- per episode and indicated that they
wanted to get a new sponsor. By their letter dated 2.1.1986 the petitioners
informed the 1st and 2nd respondents that it was not possible to increase the
costs of production for the episodes and that in the circumstances, the
production of the serial may stop. It was also pointed out that the name "Yeh
Jo Hai Zindagi" is associated with the "Vicco Laboratories" and
that if they wanted to obtain another sponsor they could produce a new serial
under a different name. The petitioners apprehended that the respondent Nos. 1
to 3 intended to produce further episodes under the title "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi"
making use of the same format as the earlier serial for and on behalf of the
third party. The petitioners reserved their right to sue for damages in terms
of Order II, Rule 2 CPC.
respondent Nos. 1 to 4 in their written statement contested the suit. Apart
from raising the question of valuation of the suit and the pecuniary
jurisdiction of the court to try the same they also raised question that the
petitioners are not the owners of the copyright in the said serial within the
meaning of Section 17 of the Copyright Act, 1957 and the copyright in respect
of the said serial belongs and vests with the respondent Nos. 1 to 4.
Therefore, it was submitted that the suit lacked cause of action. While traversing
the case on merit they contended that it was all along agreed between the
petitioners and respondents that the copyright in the said serial would rest
exclusively in the respondents and not in the petitioners. Thus the
respondents' name was shown in the title of the said serial as the producer
thereof right from the beginning of the said serial but the petitioners did not
protest against the same.
with the said intention further, the master cassette of the said serial at all
relevant times remained exclusively with the respondents and not with the
petitioners and the petitioners paid to the respondents 50% of the royalty
received from M/s Esquire Distributing and Servicing Pvt. Ltd. under the
agreement dated 1.1.1985, 4.3.1985 and 16.9.1985. The advertisements issued by
the petitioners themselves in various newspapers to give wide publicity to the
said serial would indicate that the serial mentioned these respondents' are the
owners of the copyright in respect of the said serial and the petitioners claim
in that behalf is devoid of any substance. The respondents also contended that
even assuming but without admitting that even if the petitioners are the owners
of the copyright in respect of the said serial as on the date of the suit they
ceased to be such owners in view of the fact that these rights vested in them
before the institution of the suit and they have acquiesced in the exercise of
the said right by these respondents by their conduct as referred to earlier. It
was also contended that the 2nd respondent is an artist and a film maker and
has been in the field of film making for the past 20 years. In the course of
his business the 2nd respondent has developed contacts and connections with
important and renowned personalities, artists, technicians etc. in the film
industry. In the year 1967, the 2nd respondent's wife Mrs. Sunanda S. Oberoi
started the proprietary business of advertising agency in the name and style of
Art Commercial and the 2nd respondent used to work in various capacities for
the said firm. In the year 1983, the said proprietary firm was converted into a
private limited company which is the 1st respondent in the present suit and the
2nd respondent constituted respondent Nos. 3 and 4 as his proprietary firm.
About 18 years ago before filing of the suit, the respondents came into contact
with the petitioners initially as clients in connection with the job of
advertisement of their products on All India Radio, theatre and films and
later, on television. These ad-films and jingles fetched handsome returns for
the petitioners and boosted their sales beyond their own expectations. In
course of time, the 2nd respondent and partners of the petitioners especially G.K.Pendharkar
came very close to each other and developed very intimate relations.
at the end of 1983 or early part of 1984, the 5th respondent through the said Doorsarshan
decided to introduce the production of films or serials especially for
exhibitions on TV instead of exhibiting/telecasting films produced by the
professional film producers on payment of exorbitant royalty to them, partly as
an economy measure and partly to provide avenues to and exposure new talents.
The 5th respondent thereafter decided to entertain/welcome and/or encourage the
proposals from the private producers to produce such serials or films at their
own cost and responsibility and under the said scheme the advertisers desirous
of linking up their advertisements with such films or serials were required to
negotiate and settle directly with the producers of such films and/or serials,
the royalty or consideration payable to such producers for linking up their
advertisements and commercials with their film/serial and under the said scheme
further, such advertisements were offered handsome concessions in the rates of
advertisements for display of their ads on TV. As against the regular
rates/charge of Rs.3,24,000/- for display of advertisements on TV of such
advertisers for 120 seconds per telecast, the relevant time, at the rate of
Rs.35,000/- only for 120 seconds in addition to the royalty or consideration
payable to the producers of such films or serials which invariably was far less
than the difference between the usual rates and concession rates of
advertisements. The 2nd respondent undertook the preliminary project work on
his own without loss of any time. The 2nd respondent made extensive study and
research and prepared a format of the proposed serial. The said team of the 2nd
respondent responded to his appeal and took great pains and put in hard work in
the said project and presented to him an exclusive and ingenious format of the
proposed serial. The 2nd respondent then approached the 5th respondent through Doordarshan
with his proposal to produce the said serial then proposed to be entitled
"Mussibat Hai". After a number of meetings between the 2nd respondent
and the concerned officers and the authorities of the respondents at Delhi in
connection with the said proposal approved a pilot [i.e. the first episode as
sample] on 19.9.1984 to produce a TV serial comprising 52 episodes subject of
course to the 5th respondent discretion to discontinue the same if the same
proved a flop before the expiry of the stipulated period. The entire cost of
the spade work and the cost of the title song was borne exclusively by the
respondents and nothing was contributed by the petitioners in this regard. The
5th respondent registered the respondent Nos. 1 and 2 as the producers of the
said serial. After finalizing the proposal by the TV authorities, respondent
No.2 asked the petitioners as to whether they were interested in the linking up
their ads with the said serial. Petitioners agreed to link up their ads with 26
episodes of the said serial. The petitioners agreed to pay fixed amount to
these respondents per episode for linking up their commercials with the said
serial and not on the basis of the actual cost of production of each episode so
that if the cost of production exceeded the said fixed amount the respondents
had to bear the same. In these circumstances, the respondents contended that by
entering into the said agreement of sponsorship, neither the petitioners nor
the respondents created nor did they ever intend to create any relationship of
employer and employee and/or master and servant or principal and agent between
the petitioners on the one hand and the respondents No.1 to 4 on the other.
did the parties intend that the respondents should produce the said serial for
the petitioners or at the instance of the petitioners and the respondents intended
to embark on the production of the said serial on their own. The petitioners by
their letter dated 2.1.1987 turned down the respondents' demand and informed
the respondents that they had no objection if the respondents went ahead with
the production of the said serial and merely requested the respondents that the
title of the said serial "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" may not be used by the
respondents. In the meanwhile, the respondents contended that M/s Brook Bond
Ltd. who wanted to link up their commercial with 13 episodes and agreed to pay
and paid the ruling market price. On these grounds, the respondents contended
that the suit of the petitioners is misconceived, malicious and baseless and is
liable to be dismissed.
respondents contended that on no occasion the petitioners acted as a producer
and even the contract was signed by the petitioners as an Advertiser and by the
respondent No. 1 as an approved agent.
respondents strongly contended that the serial "Hum Log" was produced
by the petitioners in collaboration with M/s Concept Advertisers.
trial court raised as many as 12 issues and they are as follows :-
"Is it proved that this Court has no pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain
and try this suit?
the plaintiffs prove that the T.V.serial entitled "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi"
was produced by the defendant Nos. 1 to 4 as agents and (the said serial made
by defendant Nos. 1 to 4) in the course of their employment with the plaintiffs
the plaintiffs prove that the entire serial rights including the excluding the
exclusive right to use the title thereof, belong to the plaintiffs as alleged?
defendant Nos. 1 to 4 entitled to deny the ownership of the plaintiffs of the
Film "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" in view of Exhibits a, B and E (colly) to
the defendants prove that the plaintiffs are not the owners of the copyright of
the TV serial/film, viz., "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" , within the meaning
of Section 17 of the Copyright Act?
the defendant Nos. 1 to 4 prove that it was intended between the parties that
copyrights in respect of the said film should vest exclusively with the
defendants or that the right of ownership was waived by the plaintiffs?
Does the suit suffer from non-joinder of necessary parties?
the suit not maintainable against defendant No. 5 for failure to give notice
u/s 80 of CPC?
the plaintiffs entitled to the declaration sought?
Are the plaintiffs entitled to permanent injuction as prayed for?
what relief, if any, are the plaintiffs entitled?
trial court found that the petitioners have not been able to prove that the TV
serial "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" was produced by defendants Nos. 1 to 4 as
agents in the course of their employment as the agent of the petitioners as
contended in the suit. The petitioners were also not able to prove that the
entire serial rights including the exclusive right to use the title thereof
belonged to the petitioners as alleged. It was also held that the respondents
Nos. 1 to 4 are entitled to deny the ownership of the petitioners of the film
"Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi in view of Exhibits A, B and E produced in the case.
It was also held that the respondents proved that the petitioners are not the
owners of the copy right of the TV serial/film viz., "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi"
within the meaning of Section 17 of the Copy Right Act and it was intended
between the parties that copy rights in respect of the said film should vest
exclusively with the respondents or that the rights of ownership was waived by
the petitioners. After examining the oral and documentary evidence on record it
is disclosed that prior to letter sent on 11.7.1984 the petitioners were
acquainted even with the format of the suit serial, they did not have any
connection with the suit serial till that date and relied upon the wording used
therein to the effect that "you and Mr. G.K. Pendharkar are requested to
join Mr. Oberoi and his creative team when the format of the proposed half and
hour sponsored programme shall be presented to you." That was the first
occasion when the format was presented to the petitioners. It was also on
record that the Shri G.K. Pendharkar of the petitioners and respondent No. 2
had long standing relations with each other and they had already done a lot of
advertising works for the petitioners before the production of the suit serial.
Exhibit G-1 (which is Exhibit 27-A in the petitioners' compilation) is a letter
written by Shri S.P. Agrawal, Controller of Programmes of Doordarshan to
respondent No. 1, M/s Art Commercia with reference to the format for the
proposed serial of half and hour duration tentatively titled "Musibat Hai"
serial sent to them on 13.7.1984. Since the letter was addressed to M/s Art Commercia
in which the proposal was accepted for production of the serial and the first
episode was to be sent for preview and approval which would be given only after
seeing the recording of the first episode.
letter had been addressed to respondent No. 1, M/s Art Commercia.
trial court felt that it was addressed not to the petitioners but to the
respondents alone. The trial court also relied on Exhibit C-1 which indicated
that the respondents were submitting a format for the serial which was to be
registered on behalf of the client M/s Vicco Laboratories.
learned Judge of the trial court took the view that this letter nowhere
mentioned that the respondents wanted to register their format on behalf of
their producers which is consistent with the modern norms of advertising. The
trial court ultimately came to the conclusion that the spade work on the
production of the suit serial had already started before 11.7.1984 and on that
day for the first time film was presented to the petitioners. It was,
therefore, found that there was no copy right attached to any idea, but copy
right is attached to the work and what is important is that not only the idea
of producing the suit serial on TV came to the mind of respondent No. 2 but he
had already started working on it in advance and forwarded it to Doordarshan
for its approval. The trial court, after examining Exhibits C-1, E-1, F-1 P-1
found that the proposal was for 52 episodes and was accepted by the Doordarshan,
while the case put forth on behalf of the appellants is that the original
agreement was to have 27 episodes and having regard to the popularity of the programme
the petitioners decided to increase the said serial to 52 episodes. The
evidence was found to be inconsistent with the theory put forth by the
petitioners that they are producers of the suit serial and, if it were to hold
otherwise, the agreement or arrangement with the respondents was only for 26
episodes, whereas the sponsorship was for 52 episodes. The trial court examined
in detail the letter dated 19.7.1984 (Exhibit F-1) written by Shri G.K. Pendharkar
of the petitioners and concluded that averments made in the plaint stated that
the original agreement was to have 27 episodes but having regard to the
popularity of the serial programme the petitioners decided to increase the said
serial to 52 episodes. In one of the contracts (Exhibit H-1) the wording used
is as under :- "Sponsorship of programme of 25 mts duration produced by
sponsor entitled "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" including 2 mts free commercial
upon this letter emphasis was laid on the words "produced by sponsors"
. Whether two capacities "sponsor" and "producer" can co-
exist in one and the same person or not has been examined and the trial court
noted that the wording had been borrowed from the Tariff Card and Tariff Card
also indicated what are the categories of the advertisers and rates thereof. It
is held that words "produced by sponsors" would not mean that the
sponsors themselves are the producers of the said programmes, as is clear from
the Tariff Card. The trial court proceeded thereafter to examine the payments
made in regard to production of the serial. Thus it was found that the first 26
episodes the amount per episode paid by the petitioners was Rs. 1,20,000/- and
each bill contained the expression "service charges" which was stated
by the appellants that the respondents acted as agents of the petitioners for
production of suit serial. On proper construction of the bills the trial court
rejected the contention that these bills and payments as showing that they had
borne the costs of production of the suit serial and, therefore, they are the
producers. Inasmuch as the respondents could not claim any amount at random,
details regarding expenditure were included in the bills and therefore it is
the sponsor's price for sponsoring the suit serial. Strong reliance was placed
upon certain circumstances, namely, that the format had been approved by the
petitioners only on 11.7.1984 and PW-1 admitted that in view of the bill the
entry claiming deduction made by the petitioners in their accounts in the
financial year ending on 30.3.1984; that the amount was not to be paid for all
26 episodes or even thereafter in lump sum and the bill for 26 episodes enabled
petitioners to claim deduction for the entire amount without actual payment in
financial year 1983-84; that the entry made for the financial year 1983-84 was
beneficial to the petitioners that there was no ceiling on advertising
expenditure and it was introduced from 1.4.1984 onwards, the plaintiff did not
produce the account books to show if the deduction in respect of the entire
amount was claimed or not though they were repeatedly called upon to produce
them. The trial court was conscious enough not to enter into the controversy
whether during the particular account year ending on 31.3.1984 the advertising
expenditure was fully exempted from tax or that there was disallowance of 20
per cent on that point and the decision regarding income tax deductions is not
necessary as there is enough other material to show that the said bill was
ante-date. The change in the title from 55th episode "for Vicco
Laboratories" was introduced. Their contention was that there was a
protest from the petitioners and as a result thereof this change took place.
The 55th episode was telecast sometime at the end of November or beginning of
December 1985 and thus there was a time gap of 7/8 months between the protest
and the telecast of the 55th episode.
it cannot be said that there is any communication between the same. The trial
court also noticed that in respect of both the advertisements and also in
respect of suit serial the petitioners paid to the respondent Nos. 5 and 6 amount
which was to be the maximum amount. Thus the profits or loss was of the
respondents and there is element of liability to render account was missing and
thus there was no question of respondents being the agents of the petitioners
within the meaning of Section 182 of the Indian Contract Act. The suit serial
was produced by the respondents as agents of the petitioners was false. The
facts emerging in the case indicate that the petitioners had joined the
production of the suit serial after some concrete beginning had been made like
recording of the title song, the conceiving of the title and format of the suit
serial, etc. The trial court summed up the position that the two capacities
"sponsor" and "producer" cannot co-exist in one and the
same person. If the documents are interpreted that the petitioners are the
sponsors as well as the producers it would lead to absurd results. Thus the
trial court proceeded to uphold the contentions raised on behalf of the
respondents to dismiss the suit.
appeal, the High Court re-examined the matter and on examination of the
pleadings, the contentions, put forth before the court, the evidence on record
and the findings recorded by the trial court, concluded that the findings
recorded by the trial court are proper. In doing so, the High Court noticed
that the admitted position in the pleadings and the oral evidence is that the
petitioners agreed to sponsor only 26 episodes whereas the respondents had
agreed to produce 52 episodes and had made firm commitment to Doordarshan to
that effect and this circumstance militates against the respondents having
undertaken the production at the behest or at the request of the petitioners.
The High Court observed that the petitioners had no knowledge of the Doordarshan
scheme regarding the sponsored programme and linking of 2 minutes advertisement
and agreed with the findings of the trial court that it is improbable for the
respondents to have agreed to reduce its income in the form of commission and
undertake the responsible job of production of the serial. It was stated that
certain bills had been given to the petitioners to suit their convenience in
tax matters and there was no such bill submitted to the petitioners by the
respondents when the petitioner had agreed to extend the sponsorship from
episodes Nos. 27 to 52 and noticed the nature of the system of accounting
maintained by them and held that the petitioners had got deductions in respect
of the entire amount of the bill in the year which ended on March 31, 1984. The
High Court also noticed the circumstance of respondent No.2's name appearing as
'producer' in the titles of the suit serial and the petitioners did not do
anything by way of protest or other objection or take steps to withhold payment
of the respondents which in the normal course would have been done and,
therefore, the explanation now sought to be offered by the petitioners in the
form of a written protest was devoid of any substance.
explanation given by the petitioners that they were busy in the shootings did
not carry much weight with the High Court. The High Court also examined the
scope of Section 17 of the Copyright Act and the ingredients thereof not having
been established the High Court held that no claim could be based on the same
and thus agreed with the findings recorded by the trial court and dismissed the
this special leave petition under Article 136 of the Constitution, the
contentions raised before the High Court are reiterated particularly as to the
effect of Section 17 of the Copyright Act and whether the correspondence on
record would not indicate that they were entitled to ownership and copyright in
respect of the TV programme 'Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi'. The learned counsel for the
petitioners strongly relied upon the following documents:
bills of cost of production.
Letters dated 14.12.1984 and 15.11.1985.
Contracts with Doordarshan.
with Esquire Distributing & Servicing Pvt. Ltd.
have carefully considered the contentions urged on behalf of the petitioners.
We are not satisfied that the petitioners have made out a case for
consideration by this Court. The matter rests purely upon the appreciation of
evidence on record and does not give rise to any question of such importance as
to be decided by this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution. It is clear
from the findings recorded by the trial court and the appellate court:
the respondents have not undertaken the production of the said serial at the
instance of the petitioners. G.K.Pendharkar, the Managing Director of
petitioner No.1 was asked to come to view the format of the programme and the
petitioners were not even acquainted with the format of the serial while the
respondents had taken concrete steps in this regard prior to the letter dated
That the petitioners had agreed to sponsor only 26 episodes whereas the
respondents had agreed to produce 52 episodes and had given a firm commitment
to that effect to Doordarshan as is clear from the letter dated 12.7.1984 sent
by the respondents to Doordarshan. The trial court thus rightly noted that
there was no agency between the parties.
That the titles of each episode indicated that respondent No.2 is the producer
of the said serial and the petitioners are only the sponsors. As late as on
22.4.1985, the petitioners communicated their displeasure on this display in
the episodes as to the titles. However, the titles continued to show Mr. S.S. Oberoi
as the producer of the serial and the petitioners did not withhold payments.
That the courts below have refuted the claim of the petitioners that the bill
dated 19.3.1984 establishes the fact that the production work had been started
by the respondents at the behest of the petitioners. It has been proved that
the said bill was ante-dated and raised by the respondents in July, 1984
ostensibly for the purpose of benefiting the petitioners for their obtaining
That the Doordarshan, which have been impleaded as a party, in their written
statement stated that they recognize the respondents as producers of the said
serial and recognize the petitioners as sponsors only.
the evidence of Mr. S.S.Gill, who gave evidence on behalf of the Information
& Broadcasting Ministry that he was not acquainted with Mr. Pendharkar and
that Doordarshan had no direct connection with the petitioners but only with
the respondents as producers or the Director stood un-impeached.
further evidence, Mr. Gill stated that some time in the month of May/June, 1984
he had met Kundan Shah and requested to make a comedy serial for Doordarshan
which clearly indicated that it is only the respondents who were dealing with Doordarshan.
That the video rights were assigned to Esquire Distributing & Servicing
Pvt. Ltd. by the respondents pursuant to letters dated 14.12.1984 and
15.11.1985 and had received royalty for the video rights and the original U-matic
cassettes were returned to them by Esquire Distributing & Servicing Pvt.
Ltd. as their property.
That there was no transfer of rights in favour of the petitioners by the
respondents in the aforesaid letters and no consideration whatsoever was paid
to the respondents for issuing the said letters which have no legal
consequences and it was after the petitioners received the letter dated
19.10.1985 from Esquire Distributing & Servicing Pvt. Ltd. that the
respondents were asked by the petitioners to issue another letter in this
the pleadings and the evidence on record clearly indicated that the respondents
were not the agents of the petitioners for the purpose of producing the said
serial. The aggregate amount of Rs.76.50 lakhs which was paid to the
respondents for 60 episodes is not the amount for cost of production but the
fixed price for sponsoring the said serial in order to link up their
advertisement with the serial and avail substantial benefit of concessional
rate under the scheme envisaged by Doordarshan. The respondents were not liable
to render accounts to the petitioners who paid them a fixed sum for sponsoring
the programme. If the expenses were less, the petitioners did not ask for a
refund and the profit or loss was entirely of the respondents. It is clear that
the bills that have been raised were only to accommodate the petitioners from
the circumstances narrated above. However, the learned counsel for the
petitioners made elaborate reference to the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the
provisions whether such availment of benefit could be taken or not pursuant to
the amendment effected to the provisions relating to computation of business
income at different stages may not be very germane to the present case. It is
probable that the respondents had obliged the petitioners by issuing these
bills because the bills cannot be read in isolation but with reference to
the view taken by the courts below in this regard appears to be correct.
as the contentions raised on the basis of Section 17 of the Copyright Act is
concerned, it is clear that the petitioners were not able to establish that the
respondent Nos. 1 to 4 produced the said serial
the agents of the petitioners;
the course of their employment with the petitioners;
valuable consideration paid by the petitioners to them; and
the instance of the petitioners.
these factors had not been established and the suit is itself not dependent on
the interpretation of Section 17 of the Copyright Act, pleadings and issues
raised did not attract the same. On appreciation of evidence, the courts below
have come to the conclusion that the respondents did not make the said serial
for valuable consideration at the instance of the petitioners and in view of
the findings of fact, the claim of copyright or ownership in respect of the
serial under Section 17(b) and (c) would not arise at all.
we find absolutely no merit in this petition. We decline to interfere with the
order made by the High Court affirming the decree of the trial court. The
petition, therefore, stands dismissed. No costs.