Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Delhi High Court Refuses To Stay 'The White Tiger' Release In Netflix

Shreya Agarwal
21 Jan 2021 4:34 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Refuses To Stay The White Tiger Release In Netflix
x

A day ahead of the scheduled release of the film 'The White Tiger' on Netflix, the Delhi High Court heard an urgent petition filed by Hollywood producer John Hart Jr seeking a stay on its streaming on grounds of alleged copyright violation.After an urgent virtual hearing which started at 7 PM, a single bench of Justice C Harishankar held that no prima facie material was shown to justify a...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

A day ahead of the scheduled release of the film 'The White Tiger' on Netflix, the Delhi High Court heard an urgent petition filed by Hollywood producer John Hart Jr seeking a stay on its streaming on grounds of alleged copyright violation.

After an urgent virtual hearing which started at 7 PM, a single bench of Justice C Harishankar held that no prima facie material was shown to justify a last minute grant of injunction against the OTT streaming of Priyanka Chopra and Rajkumar Rao starrer based on Arvind Adiga's Booker Prize winning novel 'The White Tiger'.

"There is no material on record to justify the plaintiffs approaching this court less than 24 hours prior to release seeking stay..It is settled ... that any party approaching court at the end hour, seeking interlocutory indirection against the release of cinematographic film, is disentitled to any such relief," the order stated.

However, the defendants are directed to keep detailed accounts of earnings from the film, so that at a later stage if the Plaintiff were to succeed, due compensation could be determined for them.

"Stopping the release of a movie has very serious ramifications - for the actors, producers, all those who have worked on it. For you it's about your dream, on the other hand, there may be serious financial ramifications", the bench orally remarked during the hearing.

Justice C Hari Shankar held that substantial financial interests of various stakeholders was at stake, and that prima facie, Hart had failed to make out a case fit for the grant of an ad-interim relief as despite admitting that the cause of action had arisen as far back as 1.5 years ago, Hart had for unjustified reasons, waited till 24 hours before the release of the film to move the court for an alleged copyright infringement suit, seeking ad-interim stay on the film's release.

Based on Aravind Adiga's Man Booker prize winning novel, the film releases in India on Netflix on Jan 22.

The court also found that Hart had not brought all the relevant and essential documents of the case on record, including the defendants' replies to the notices served by him on them, and that prima facie this amounted to suppression of the relevant facts, as had been claimed by Sr. Adv. Sandeep Sethi on behalf of some of the defendants.

Appearing for the plaintiffs, Sr. Adv. Kapil Sankhla prayed for protection for merely 24 hours' to Hart, during which time he would put all the relevant documents on record, however, the visibly incensed Justice Hari Shankar flatly refused the prayer, stating that he would not protect plaintiffs for even 24 minutes.

John Hart claimed to own the copyright and stated that being a resident of America, Covid-19 had got in his way to approaching the court earlier, however, Justice Shankar merely replied stating, "Don't blame Covid-19 for everything", and highlighted that the Plaintiffs had had 1.5 years to get together their case and relevant documents but had waited until the nth hour to approach the court for the sought remedy.

The judge relied on established case laws, presented by Sethi, and supplemented by the counsel for Netflix, and said that the release of a cinematograph film could not be stayed on an application by someone claiming infringement of rights at the last minute.

To the court's question as to why he should be heard right now, at the nth hour, Hart submitted that the understanding was that the movie would be released in theatres and not on OTT platform.

Sankhla claimed that he has had the right to make a movie out of the novel by Aravind Adiga, and stated that, "My right in the movie and the adaptation is absolute. For them it's merely a commercial venture, but for me it's a grand dream. I will never be able to make the movie the way I envisaged it. When I purchased the rights this was the second highest selling Man Booker prize winner."

To this, the court responded by stating that, "Merely saying that if this film is released your dreams will be shattered is no ground for grant of an injunction on the release of the film."

Agreeing with Sr. Adv. Sandeep Sethi, the court reiterated that, "Stopping the release of a movie has very serious ramifications - for the actors, producers, all those who have worked on it. For you it's about your dream, on the other hand, there may be serious financial ramifications."


Complete updates from the hearing may be read here.

Image from here.



Next Story
Share it