When it comes to the copyright of literary artwork, the copyright extends to the theme, plot, and storyline aside from the core idea, the Bombay High Court has ruled.
The order comes on a plea filed by Urdu writer Shamoil Ahmad Khan who had alleged that a certain Falguni Shah and two others had infringed on his copyright by producing a web series called Singardaan which is similar to his short story of the same name.
The web series is being aired on Ullu and is also available on YouTube. According to The Hindustan Times, Khan claimed that not only had the producers copied his title but also the entire plot, narrative, and characters of the story.
“If one goes on stripping the final work of these various elements, one may finally come to the bare idea or abstraction which no longer enjoys copyright protection,” the presiding judge Justice Gupte stated. “The above narration is the life and blood of the plaintiff’s (Khan’s) story,” the judge added, according to HT.
“If someone steals this theme, plot and storyline, is he not thereby plagiarising the expression of the plaintiff’s work? Can the above theme, plot and storyline be simply dismissed as non-protectable ideas of the plaintiff’s work and not its expression? I think not. We have not yet reached that level of extraction where the work can be stripped to its non-protectable idea,” he also said.
The judge has restrained Falguni Shah and others from making any further adaptations of Singardaan.