India: Amitabh Bachchan's persona not to be replicated without permission, says Delhi HC

This comes after the veteran actor filed a petition on the matter, as well as a restraining order against those who misuse his identity



File photo
File photo

By ANI

Published: Fri 25 Nov 2022, 2:58 PM

Bollywood legend and veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan filed a suit in the Delhi High Court seeking protection of his personality rights, image, voice or any of his characteristics without his consent, following which the court passed an interim ex-parte injunction in his favour.

Eminent lawyer Harish Salve — along with Ameet Naik and Pravin Anand — appeared for Bachchan in the High Court. The matter was heard before Justice Navin Chawla.

Salve submitted that there is a complete misuse of Amitabh Bachchan's name, image, voice or any of his characteristics without his consent.

"The misuse of his name, image and voice, especially by the mobile application developers, and people conducting lottery by illegally associating with KBC, book publishers, T-shirt vendors and various other businesses, has prompted Mr Amitabh Bachchan to approach the High Court, seeking a restraining order against the use of his personality traits," Salve said.

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The lawyer for Amitabh Bachchan also brought to the notice of the Delhi High Court that alleged infringers have illegally registered Bachchan's name as web-domain names, such as www.amitabhbachchan.com and www.amitabhbachchan.in.

Delhi High Court's Justice Navin Chawla noted that the plaintiff alleges a violation of his publicity right as a celebrity.

The court further noted that it could not seriously be disputed that the plaintiff is a very well-known personality and is aggrieved by the usage of his persona, without his consent.

"I am of the opinion that the plaintiff has been able to make out a prima facie case in his favour. The defendants appear to be using celebrity status without his authorisation, permission and consent," the HC judge said.

In his interim order, Justice Navin Chawla passed an interim ex-parte injunction in favour of the veteran actor, and against the defendants.

The plea stated that there was an infringement of the plaintiff's personality — both digitally and physically.

The digital means include several websites and mobile apps that have been found misappropriating the plaintiff's photographs and/or other characteristics, to gain popularity amongst the public, as well as to entice members of the public to download such mobile apps.

The instant messaging apps include several unscrupulous parties that have been found using Bachchan's photograph along with his name, and the representation of a TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati (of which he is the host), to scam the public into believing that Kaun Banega Crorepati was offering lottery prizes to the members of the public.

The physical means include the cases where dishonest traders physically affix the actor's images and posters to their places of business, on billboards, or even on products that they engage in the manufacture and sale of — with the aim to unlawfully show a nexus/affiliation/sponsorship/association with the plaintiff — so as to boost their illegal profits.


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