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Indian Case Summary

Urmi Juvekar Chiang vs Global Broadcast News Limited, A … on 7 June, 2007 – Case Summary

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In the case of Urmi Juvekar Chiang vs Global Broadcast News Limited, A … on 7 June, 2007, the Bombay High Court was presented with a dispute involving allegations of breach of confidentiality and copyright infringement. The plaintiff, Urmi Juvekar Chiang, a reputed script-writer, accused the defendants, Global Broadcast News Limited, of reproducing and adapting her proposed television programme titled “Work in Progress” into their own television programme titled “Summer Showdown” without her permission.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, Urmi Juvekar Chiang, is a renowned script-writer who has scripted various films and television serials. In November 2005, she conceived an idea for a reality television programme titled “Work in Progress,” which would follow citizens from different parts of the country as they took the initiative to solve a civic problem of their choice in their locality. The plaintiff registered her concept note with the Film Writers Association, Mumbai, on 9th November 2005, asserting that it was a literary work within the meaning of Section 2(o) of the Copyright Act, 1957.

In March 2006, the plaintiff approached Ms. Rasika Tyagi of the defendants and shared her concept. After several discussions and email exchanges, the plaintiff was informed that the budget proposed by her for the proposed television programme was on the higher side. Despite further discussions and revisions to the budget, there was no concrete response from the defendants.

In May 2007, the plaintiff discovered that the defendants were promoting a programme titled “Summer Showdown” on the CNN-IBN Television Channel, which bore striking similarities to her proposed programme “Work in Progress.” The plaintiff claimed that the defendants had copied her television programme in all material aspects, constituting a breach of confidentiality and copyright infringement.

Issues

The primary issues in this case revolved around the allegations of breach of confidentiality and copyright infringement. The court had to determine whether the plaintiff had clearly identified the information she was relying on, whether it was handed over in circumstances of confidence, whether it was information of the type that could be treated as confidential, and whether it was used without a license or there was a threat to use it.

Court’s Observations

The court observed that the plaintiff had clearly identified the information she was relying on, namely her concept and the concept note regarding the programme titled “Work in Progress.” The court also found that the plaintiff had passed on this information to the defendants in confidence.

The court further observed that the plaintiff had shown that the subject information was of such a type that could be treated as confidential. The court rejected the defendants’ argument that no confidentiality could be claimed in relation to matters in the public domain, stating that the plaintiff was not claiming confidentiality in relation to the issue of civic woes as such, but in relation to her concept of the programme and the manner of spreading awareness of the civic problems.

The court concluded that the plaintiff had made a strong case for breach of confidentiality, as she had satisfied all the necessary criteria. The court also referenced several previous decisions that supported the plaintiff’s claim.

The case of Urmi Juvekar Chiang vs Global Broadcast News Limited, A … on 7 June, 2007, thus serves as a significant precedent in cases involving allegations of breach of confidentiality and copyright infringement in the context of television programming.