By Abhishek Anshu
New Delhi, Apr 15 (PTI) Saregama India Ltd., one of the country’s oldest music labels, told the Supreme Court Monday that it will not use the photograph and name of legendary singer late Manna Dey, of ‘Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen’ fame, on the CD cover of its music album ‘Hoyto Tomari Jonno’.
Prabodh Chandra Dey, popularly known as Manna Dey, was awarded Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Some of his famous songs include ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’ and ‘Tu pyar ka saagar hain’.
Saregama informed about its stand to a bench of Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer which was hearing a petition by Manna Dey’s daughter.
She has challenged the Karnataka High Court’s order dismissing her pleas seeking temporary injunction on the allegation that the music label had infringed the copyrights of her father.
Shumita Deb, through her counsel, told the top court that the music label was selling the CD of album containing 14 songs, of which two were composed by Manna Dey, sung by another singer.
When the counsel appearing for Saregama told the bench that the CD is a tribute to Manna Dey, Justice Bobde asked, “Just now tell us, will you take off Manna Dey’s photo?”
Responding to the query, the counsel said, “We will take off the photo of Manna Dey in the interim.”
However, Deb’s counsel said the music label cannot even use the name of Manna Dey on the CD cover of the album.
When the bench said it would issue notice on the plea and grant stay on the high court’s order, the counsel appearing for the music label said they will remove his name also from the CD cover.
The bench noted in its order that counsel appearing for the music label and Sony DADC Manufacturing (I) Pvt Ltd has said they “will remove and not make any further use of the photograph and the name of late Manna Dey on the cover of the subject CDs”.
“This shall be without prejudice to their rights. We, therefore, do not consider it appropriate to entertain these special leave petitions,” the bench said.
The apex court also directed that the civil suit in the matter, which is pending before a district court in Bengaluru, be decided as expeditiously as possible “preferably not later than one year after the next date of hearing”.
The high court had on December 13 last year dismissed the pleas of Deb seeking temporary injunction to restrain the music label from manufacturing, circulating, distributing, disseminating or selling by way of remixes, adaptations, copy versions which allegedly infringes or violated the copyrights over the compositions and songs of Manna Dey.
She had told the high court that on August 26, 2013 Manna Dey had executed a power of attorney in her favour and had authorised her to manage his business and take legal action for any violation.
She had told the high court that after demise of Manna Dey in 2013, Saregama India Ltd released a music album ‘Hoyto Tomari Jonno’ containing 14 songs of her father and sung by another singer.
These songs were embedded in Saregama India Ltd’s new music player ‘Saregama Caravan’ which was launched during May 2017, she had alleged before the high court, adding the songs were distortion of the original songs of Manna Dey.
She had claimed in the high court that the music label had manufactured, reproduced, released and distributed the songs of Manna Dey in the CD without her permission and thus there act amounted to infringement of his copyrights.
Saregama had told the high court that out of 14 songs, two songs were composed by Manna Dey and he was neither the lyricist or composer but was only a singer of the other 12 songs.
It had argued there that four songs were part of cinematograph films and therefore the producers of those films were the first owners of all the works.
Regarding two songs composed by Manna Dey, Saregama had said that lyricists of these songs are Bankim Ghosh and Pulak Banerjee and those songs were produced by it.
It had said that lyricists of these songs were the first owners and they had assigned their interest in favor of the music label.
It had said they have the absolute discretion to manufacture, reproduce, sell or use these songs and Saregama India Ltd was also paying royalty to Manna Dey.
By Abhishek Anshu