The controversy around Varaha Roopam Song from Kannada blockbuster movie Kantara has reached the next level. 3 different session courts in Kerala have passed injunction (stay) order restraining the producers (Kantara team) from playing the song in the movie and music sharing platforms.
Hombale Fims, the production house has removed the ‘solo track’ from most of the online platforms, however the track is still available on official Jukebox. It also appears that the song is played in the movie. In the movie the song is played twice, in the beginning and in the climax. Essentially, the song is the lifeblood of the movie.
Illegal Court Orders without Jurisdiction!
All the injunction orders appear to be illegal when looked in the eyes of Indian Copyrights Act 1957 (The Law) The law provides protection to all the original creative works viz writeup, songs, arts & music etc. However, the burden is on the creator to prove that he/she is the original creator.
Please note, it’s not mandatory to register any creative work to get protection under Copyrights act. However, the work must be registered as per law to get any favorable injunction order. Court cannot pass stay orders if the creative work is not registered under the law.
It seems that Thaikkudam Bridge, the creator of Navarasam Song hasn’t registered the song as their own original creative work. Infact, majority music producers don’t register their songs due to various reasons. Moreover sound (swara), tune (raga) beats (tala) etc. are open-source resources and nobody owns them. It’s not unknown secret that all song composers get inspired from some other popular song.
Is Varaha Roopam Songs Copy of Navarasa Song?
As proven by many music experts it’s definitely not a copy as per copyrights act in terms of composition though there appear some similarities in tune and sound arrangements. Secondly, Navarasam Song is not a copyrighted material (as per my research) so the question of infringement does not arise at all. Hence all the stay orders (injunction orders) passed by various session courts in Kerala against the songs is illegal & to be vacated.
It cost just Rs 50/- file an application for injunction order (only court fee). It only costs Rs 200/- to file writ petition in High Court to get all those stay order vacated. I hope that the Hombale Films is considering the same.
What is the consequence if the copyright infringement is proven?
Rs 50,000 to 2 lakh is the penalty amount the infringer should pay as per the CR Act! The petitioner can seek higher damage, but again they must prove that infringement of their copyrighted creative work has resulted in much more financial damage. Now everyone who saw the controversy can easily say that Thaikkudam Bridge did not suffer financially. Infact, they gained much needed publicity and popularity for their other works too.
The Position of Kantara Team
Ajaneesh Lokanath is already a super star music composer in Kannada Film industry. This year he gave half a dozen back-to-back super hit movies. True music lovers enjoy his unique compositions & soulful background score. Henceforth, his work will go for higher scrutiny, which means he should be more careful. Both Ajaneesh & Rishab Shetty had bitter experience earlier with one of the Kirik Party songs. So, they could have avoided this.
Thaikkudam Bridge Bad Villain for Kantara?
On the other hand, work of Thaikkudam Bridge also good. The intention of this article is not to villainize Thaikkudam Bridge. Their fans have reason to get upset over the popularity of Varaha Roopam Song. As stated by popular South-Indian playback singer Srinivas (Srinivasan Doraiswamy) dragging an artist to court is disgraceful & could have been avoided.
Gossip: Thaikkudam Bridge is only asking for proper credit & nothing else.
Another gossip: They are demanding 3 crore rupees compensation to withdraw complaints!
No musician can claim that his song is ‘completely original’ in 100% honesty. Since Copyright is a complicated subject under law, disputes should be resolved through dialog outside the court. For that both parties should bury their ego. Will that happen?
Shashidher Kavoor, the lyricist who penned Varaha Roopam song is a practicing lawyer himself!
Disclaimer: The author of this blog-post is not an expert in the field of Music to give legal advice regarding Copyrights infringement. Views are personal, does not substitute professional advice.