Copyright Violation: HC Refuses to Stay 'The White Tiger' Release

The film releases on Netflix on 22 January.

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Priyanka Chopra in a still from The White Tiger.

On Thursday (21 January), the Delhi High Court refused to stay the release of the Netflix film, The White Tiger, on a plea by American producer John Hart Jr, alleging copyright violation, reported PTI.

Justice C Hari Shankar dismissed the stay plea, saying that not a single reason was shown to approach the court less than 24 hours of the film's release.

However, the court issued summons to Netflix and The White Tiger's producer Mukul Deora. It listed the matter for completion of pleadings before the joint registrar on March 22.

As per the PTI report, the court said, “It is not possible for this court to come to the finding, based on the material on record, that by making and releasing the film, the defendants have indulged in copyright infringement.”

The court also said that Deora and Netflix are allowed to release the film and are directed to keep detailed accounts of the film so that if at a later stage, Hart Jr succeeds, the court can determine the monetary compensation.

Advocate Kapil Sankhla, who represented Hart Jr, reportedly said that a literary auction agreement was executed between him and author of the book, Aravinda Adiga, in March 2009 and he had to make it a film to be released in Hollywood.

He said it was in October 2019 that he came to know that Netflix was in the process of making and releasing the film on the platform and and thus a legal notice was sent to Deora and Netflix.

Sankhla, also representing Sonia Mudbhatkal who runs a US Production Company, said his clients were never alerted that shooting of a film was going on in 2020 as they were put on hold due to COVID-19, and this resulted in copyright infringement.

Advocate Sandeep Sethi, representing Deora, had opposed the suit saying the petitioners have filed the case in the 11th hour, which isn't permissible. He added that Hart Jr was also concealing documents and making a one-sided case.

After hearing all the parties, the court said it cannot arrive at a view that the defendants have prima facie infringed the copyrights of plaintiffs by making and releasing the film.

The White Tiger is based on Arvind Adiga's book of the same name. It stars Adarsh Gourav, Priyanka Chopra and Rajkummar Rao in lead roles and releases on 22 January.

(With inputs from PTI)

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