On Friday, the Bombay High Court held that prima facie, Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Ra.One’ was a copy of a concept created and developed by scriptwriter and producer Yash Patnaik and that it violated provisions of the Indian Copyright Act.
"It is an unfortunate part of the film industry that people use concepts developed by others and then don't want to pay or give them credit," the judges remarked.
The court asked Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies to deposit Rs1 crore, failing which the movie’s release will be stayed. Gauri Khan and Shah Rukh Khan have agreed to deposit the amount.
Yash Patnaik had moved to court claiming that he had developed the concept of an Indian Superhero called ‘One’ and he had even registered it with Films Writers Association in 2006. He said that he was in talks with Mushtaq Sheikh to develop the concept.
When he saw that Mushtaq Sheikh was credited as the script writer his suspicions of ‘Ra.One’ being his concept were confirmed.
The court ruled in favor of Patnaik saying that "prima facie he had copyright in the concept embodied in the concept note, including materials, graphics, illustrations, drawings, monograms, and scenes and pictures of flying robots and gadgets."
"The efforts put in by Patnaik, commencing from 2002, including the concept note, development of the concept and the storyline are sufficient to confer on him the copyright for the concept note, which prima facie appears to have been relied upon by (Khan and his company) for making the film," the judges said.
Shah Rukh Khan’s lawyers had argued that the accusations came very late with the intentions of blackmailing the producers in the last minute.
But the court dismissed the objection and ruled in favor of Patnaik stating “We find substance in the submissions of the plaintiff (Patnaik) that the defendants (Khan and others) started promoting Ra.One in January. Only when more content and visuals from the film were released in the public domain that Patnaik found credible evidence to connect the content created by him.”