News By/Courtesy: Akanksha Dash | 26 May 2020 15:15pm IST


  • The plaintiff is a writer who complained that Netflix plagiarized his story
  • The court dismissed the IA on three grounds.
  • Plaint for claim and damages is allowed and will be disposed of on merits

A single-judge bench of the Bombay High Court comprising of Justice K.R. Shriram dismissed the IA filed by a writer Sameer Wadekar alleging that the Over Top platform Netflix has plagiarised his story ‘Vetaal’ written in 2013-214 and copyrighted by him in 2015.
He has alleged that when he came across a 146-second trailer of the show on Youtube, he realized that a lot of it is copied off his story. It is submitted by him that “in the 146 seconds of the video trailer, there were at least 13 similarities with the copyrighted work of the plaintiff.” And that “Plaintiff states that defendants have infringed their registered copyright work VETAAL and therefore, should be restrained by an ad-interim order from going ahead with the release on 24.5.2020.”
The Counsel for the plaintiff submitted that the story is created with the imagination of the plaintiff and that “defendants have depicted in many different manners the plaintiff’s work but the defendants’ projection is similar to the copyright of the plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that it is a case of infringement of copyright and plagiarism.”
 The Court rejected this on three points:
  1. The plaintiff submitted that he shared his work with many known and established producers. One such was Wilson Louis. The plaintiff contends that Mr. Louis had contacts with Netflix that that is how they could have received the story. The Court states that:
“….e-mails exchanged between plaintiff no.1 and Wilson Louis way back in July-2016. These emails do not show any link between Wilson Louis and Netflix. Except for the plaintiff saying that Wilson Louis told plaintiff no.1 that he has some contacts in Netflix, there is nothing else to show any link with the defendant. Therefore, I find it difficult to believe that the so-called original story written by the plaintiff, can be copied by somebody else.”
  1. Delay and Laches is another point for rejecting this application. The defendants have produced evidence that “several prints and online publications dated 16th & 17th July 2019 of general readership and popular to the trade and business of movies and general entertainment, carried reports of defendant no.1 airing an original web-series called BETAAL with a description of a web-series in those articles.” The Court rejected the Plaintiff’s argument that “he was not aware” of this.
  2. The origin of the story and the title ‘Betaal’ is from the Hindu Methodology and almost everybody is privy to it.
Keeping in mind the above-mentioned points, the Court refuses to grant the relief prayed for. The plaint for claim and damages is allowed and will be heard and disposed of on merits.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 26 May 2020 20:58pm IST

Tags : copyright, plagarise, netflix

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