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HC puts curbs on Cleveland Cultural Alliance over dance ballet
CHENNAI, February 27: The Madras High Court has made absolute an interim injunction against a U.S.-based organization and an individual here from staging in any manner a dance ballet "Jaya Jaya Devi".

The High Court Order follows a petition filed by violinist Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, Tamil writer Sujatha Vijayaraghavan and Bharatanatyam dancer Radha. Their petition had sought an interim injunction restraining the respondents – Cleveland Cultural Alliance, Ohio, U.S., and A. Lakshmanan of Anna Nagar - from staging the dance ballet, as it infringed their copyrights.

It may be recalled than an ex-parte interim order of injunction was granted in this case in December last. The plaintiffs’ contended that they owned the entire copyright over the ballet, which they produced in 1994 and performed in several centres in the U.S. They further claimed that they had staged the ballet in several Indian cities as well.

Though the U.S.-based organization had sought the assignment of the copyright to it, no agreement could be reached in the regard. The violinist and the rest moved the Court when the U.S.-based organization declared its intention (through its website) to stage a revival of the dance ballet.

Cleveland Cultural Alliance contended that it had paid Jayaraman and his team for their services and incurred huge money in staging the dance ballet in the U.S. Pending suit, Justice V. Ramasubramanian held it was clear that the plaintiffs were the artistes who created the ballet and were paid an honorarium. They were also reimbursed the expenses for the creation. There was, however, no mutual written agreement between them on their mutual rights and obligation. The Copyright Act, according to the Judge, made the author of a work the first owner of the copyright therein. The Judge held that the plaintiffs had a prima facie case to show that they were the owners of copyright therein.