Commercial HC grants interim injunction against ITN precluding broadcast of ‘Asterix’ in case filed by Maharaja

Saturday, 13 August 2022 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Commercial High Court in Colombo recently granted an Interim Injunction against Independent Television Network Ltd. (ITN) in an Intellectual Property Action filed by Maharaja Entertainments Ltd., restraining the former from broadcasting, telecasting or exercising any of the exclusive territorial rights vested in Maharaja Entertainments Ltd. through the Distribution License Agreement in respect of the audio visual work ‘Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion’.

Maharaja Entertainments instituted legal proceedings against ITN on the basis that the Plaintiff, an associate company of the Capital Maharaja Organisation, being the exclusive territorial rights holder of the latest Asterix audio visual movie, ‘Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion’, for the territory of Sri Lanka which includes the movie rights, dubbing rights and TV telecasting rights. 

Maharaja Entertainments asserted in its Plaint that the Defendant, ITN had violated its exclusive rights in terms of the Intellectual Property Act by broadcasting the movie ‘Asterix’ dubbed in Sinhala and has hence infringed the Copyright of the Plaintiff and had engaged in conduct amounting to Unfair Competition.

Maharaja Entertainments asserted that ITN had broadcasted the Asterix movie in the backdrop where there were multiple notices given to ITN to not affect the broadcast of the movie, but ITN had in fact affected the broadcast of the movie on the 19 October 2019, causing serious loss and damage to the Plaintiff. 

The Plaintiff had set out in its Plaint that the Plaintiff had completed the dubbing in Sinhala bearing significant costs and was to effect the first broadcast of the Asterix movie dubbed in Sinhala in terms of the rights granted under the Distribution License Agreement from the content owners M6 Studios in Paris, France. Maharaja Entertainments has also sought damages of Rs. 300 million from ITN. 

High Court Judge Priyantha Fernando having considered the submissions made on behalf of the Plaintiff and the Defendant, moved to grant the Interim Injunction restraining ITN from broadcasting, telecasting or exercising any of the exclusive territorial rights vested in the Plaintiff through the Distribution License Agreement as prayed for in the Plaint by way of an Order dated 27 June. 

The Plaintiff Maharaja Entertainments Ltd. was represented in Court by Dr. Harsha Cabral PC, with Nishan Sydney Premathiratne, Migara Cabral and Krishan Fernandopulle, Attorneys -at-Law appearing on the instructions of Messrs. Julius and Creasy, Attorneys-at-Law. 

The Defendant ITN was represented by Chamanthi Wijayasekera Attorney-at-Law. Accordingly, the matter was fixed for 30 September for Answer of the Defendant.