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Surgical strike movie: Court asks filmmaker, author to settle copyright issue

A Delhi court on Friday asked the makers of upcoming film ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ and the author of a book on the incident to explore the possibility to amicably settle the issue of copyright.

The complaint for alleged violation of copyright has been filed by Nitin A Gokhale, a journalist and author of the book, against the film’s producer Ronnie Screwvala and director Aditya Dhar.

The lawyer for Screwvala and Dhar told Additional District Judge Gaurav Rao that there was no copyright on the facts and ideas.

A lot of information was in the public domain after the incident and mere similarities between the film and the book cannot be termed as copyright violation.

The book, ‘Securing India – The Modi Way, Pathankot, Surgical Strikes And More’, has talked about the aspects of the planning and execution of the surgical strikes, which the Indian Army conducted on terror launch pads across the Line of Control on September 29, 2016.

Gokhale’s advocate told the court that the film infringed the copyright as the contents of the book were used without taking author’s permission.

The court has posted the matter for further hearing on January 7. The movie is scheduled to be released on January 11.

The author has sought an order to stop the screening of the film without his consent and to delete the literary content of the book from the film.

During the hearing on Friday, the author’s lawyer Neela Gokhale told the court that the facts used in movie’s final script, including information about planning and strategy of the government, were lifted from the book.

“A lot of changes were made in their final script after my book was launched which were not in the first script of the movie. There was a substantial deviation from their first script after my book was published. A substantial portion is lifted from the book,” the lawyer told the court.

The defence counsel opposed the complaint saying the facts were not copied from the book.

“Various changes were brought after experts suggested the same. It cannot be said that the changes in the first script and the last script of the film were based on the book,” the counsel said.

The complaint alleged that the makers had infringed the copyright by reproducing and substantially copying the contents of the book into the film.

“The same has been done without taking any permission of the plaintiff or having been granted any licence to reproduce the work of the plaintiff in the form of the film as stated herein above. The defendants have violated the rights of the Plaintiff, despite a clear declaration and disclaimer in the Book,” it said.

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