The Delhi High Court has fined a website Rs 25 lakh for infringing on the trademark of iconic Hindi film ‘Sholay’, after preventing it from using the film’s logo, designs and selling the DVD on the Internet.
A bench of Judge Prathiba M. Singh dealt with a lawsuit filed by Sholay Media Entertainment against a domain name and a magazine using the name and scenes from the movie “Sholay” and the sale of related things associated with the movie.
“Defendants’ adoption of the ‘SHOLAY’ trademark was clearly in bad faith and dishonest, due to the use of the logo, infringing designs, sale of the ‘Sholay’ movie DVD on Defendants’ website , etc. reasons set out above, the Court is satisfied that this is a case warranting an award of costs to the plaintiffs. Accordingly, the present lawsuit is decreed for a sum of Rs 25,000,000 as costs and damages, in terms of redressing the complaint,” the recent order reads.
Among the arguments, the defendants argued that “Sholay.com” is a website used by educated people, which would therefore lead to less likelihood of confusion.
In response to this, the court said, “As regards the use of the internet, the said platform is now accessible to billions of users around the world, who can range from highly educated people to even illiterate people. Nowadays internet as a medium has become a platform for dissemination, communication and empowerment for the common man. Thus, in the opinion of this court, the assertion that the Internet is used only by educated people is unacceptable. It would be easy for anyone, not just educated people, to link the plaintiffs’ film to the defendants’ website.
In addition, the ordinance stipulated that the content of a film was no longer limited to theatrical screening, but also to online and other electronic platforms.
“So the internet itself has created an additional market for ‘Sholay’, which is a nearly 50-year-old film. The adoption by the defendants is done with full knowledge of the plaintiffs’ film, especially since the defendants’ companies are run by Indians, who are more than likely to be aware of the film “Sholay”. The goods and services offered can be considered as offshoots from the applicants.