Quashing of FIR – Spare parts not considered to be Literary, Artistic or Musical Works

In a recent Special Criminal Quashing Application, the Gujarat High Court made a significant ruling by quashing and setting aside an FIR registered against one Mr. Mayur Shah. The court’s decision was based on the understanding that a spare part (printer cartridges), in this case, cannot be classified as a literary, artistic, or musical work under the Copyright Act, 1957.

The case unfolded when an IPR Vigilance Indian Company, represented by its investigating officer, filed an FIR against Mr. Shah for his involvement in selling spare parts of computers and related goods, i.e. printer cartridges. The petitioner argued that the provisions of the Copyright Act were not applicable to the case and, therefore, requested the quashing of the FIR. Additionally, it was highlighted that the complainant failed to establish their authorization to file the complaint, and the Public Prosecutor could not demonstrate a connection between the allegation contained in the FIR and the Copyright Act.

The court meticulously examined the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957, and noted that the FIR pertained to spare parts of computers. Critically, the court emphasized the absence of information regarding the author or owner of these spare parts and questioned the complainant’s authority in filing the FIR. The court concluded that these spare parts did not fall within the definition of artistic work as outlined in Section 2(c) of the Act nor could they be considered as literary or musical works.

Crucially, the court pointed out the lack of disclosure in the complaint regarding spare parts being classified as artistic work or any other category covered by the Copyright Act. Moreover, there was no indication that the complainant had acquired any rights under the Act. Consequently, the court asserted that the provisions of Sections 51 and 63 of the Copyright Act did not apply to the case. In light of these considerations, the court concluded that the continuation of criminal proceedings against the petitioner would amount to an abuse of the legal process. Consequently, the court exercised its authority to quash the FIR.

This legal decision underscores the importance of clarity and specificity in connecting allegations to the relevant legal provisions. The ruling sets a precedent by affirming that spare parts, in this context, do not qualify as literary, artistic, or musical works under the Copyright Act, thereby preventing the misuse of legal processes against individuals engaged in the legitimate trade of such goods.

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