No infringement of Rediff.com copyright for an analogue Dial image: DHC

The Delhi High Court recently held that there is no infringement of Rediff.com copyright in their literary and artistic work for an analogue image of a Dial representing strength/weakness of a stock or mutual fund.
Rediff.com alleged that defendant infringed their copyright for their analogue image – Dial “How Hot is This Stock” – used to enable the users to reach a quick and snapshot conclusion about the prospects of a stock or a mutual fund. Defendant created their own analogue image – “Mutual Fund Meter” – to represent the strength of its recommendation for sale/purchase of the mutual fund.
The Court said “Assuming that the plaintiff may be the first to use the Dial to make such a representation, it does not mean that no other person can use the Dial created by him – and not the Dial created by the plaintiff, to convey its own recommendation in relation to a stock or mutual fund. What the plaintiff is seeking, in fact, is copyright over the idea of using a Dial to display the strength of its recommendation for purchase/sale of a stock/mutual fund. As aforesaid, there is no copyright created or protected by law in such an idea, even if it is accepted that it is the original idea of the plaintiff to use the medium of a Dial to project its recommendation for purchase/sale of stock and mutual fund.”
Citing earlier Supreme Court decisions, the Court said “Where the theme is the same, but is presented and treated differently, so that the subsequent work becomes a completely new work, no question of violation of copyright arises. Where, however, apart from the similarities appearing in the two works, there are also material and broad dissimilarities which negative the intention to copy the original and the similarities in the two works are clearly incidental, no infringement comes into existence.”

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