Sajeev Pillai vs. Venu Kunnapalli and Ors., Decided on 11.12.2019

The author has legal right to protect his intellectual property even after assignment, Assignment of the work by him will not exhaust his legal right to claim authorship over it, –Sajeev Pillai vs. Venu Kunnapalli and Ors.


Sajeev Pillai vs. Venu Kunnapalli and Ors. (11.12.2019 – KERHC)


The release of a much-awaited movie by name Mamankam based on this historical fact is proposed to be on 12.12.2019.

Whether, there is any justification for restraining the release of the movie on the proposed date, by an order of temporary injunction, is the question for consideration.

The appellant/plaintiff claims that he had worked on the history of this festival and made research on this festival from 1999 onwards and written a script for a film on this subject and it was his dream project. He is a film director and a script writer by profession who achieved skill and knowledge in the field under eminent directors.

The draft of his script was registered with the Film Writers Association in the name ‘Kinavu/Changatham’. Subsequently, the name was changed as ‘Mamankam’.

After completion of two schedules, the appellant was terminated from serving as Director of the film and another person was appointed as the new Director.

Suit was filed seeking various reliefs, but the petition was dismissed by the learned Additional District Judge. Then applied in High court.

Here the question is, Whether, the appellant has any right after assignment of his work, to the 1st respondent, Producer of the film.  Under copyright law it is clear that it is clear that even after assignment the author has right to protect his copyright (Section 57 of Copyright Act).

The movie ‘Mamankam’ is permitted as producer have announced release date and he spend money for the final output, only subject to the following conditions:

(i) Nobody’s name shall be exhibited as the script writer or as writer of the screen play of the movie ‘Mamankam’ produced by M/s. Kavya Film Company, anywhere in the screen or in the advertisements, which is being released on 12.12.2019 or any subsequent date, till the disposal of the suit by the court below.

(ii) The first respondent shall make an undertaking by way of an affidavit before this Court to that effect, before the release of the movie, i.e., on 12.12.2019.


The trial court shall take all endeavor to dispose of the case expeditiously and preferably, within a period of six months from the date of receipt/production of the copy of this Judgment.

Full case: Sajeev Pillai vs. Venu Kunnapalli and Ors.

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