Bollywood legend and veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court seeking protection of his personality rights, image, voice or any of his characteristics without his consent, after which the court issued a provisional ex-parte injunction in his favour.
Prominent lawyer Harish Salve along with Ameet Naik and Pravin Anand, instructed by Anand and Naik, appeared before Bachchan in the Supreme Court. The case was heard by Justice Navin Chawla.
Salve argued that Amitabh Bachchan’s name, image, voice or any of his features has been completely misused without his consent.
“The misuse of his name, image and voice, especially by the mobile application developers and lottery organizers by illegally associating with KBC, book publishers, T-shirt vendors and various other companies, has prompted Mr. Amitabh Bachchan to go to the Supreme Court, seeking a restraining order against the use of his personality traits,” Salve said.
Amitabh Bachchan’s lawyer also informed the Delhi High Court that alleged offenders have illegally registered Bachchan’s name as web domain names such as www.amitabhbachchan.com and www.amitabhbachchan.in.
Delhi High Court Judge Navin Chawla noted that the prosecution/Amitabh Bachchan alleges a violation of his right of publicity as a celebrity.
The court further noted that it cannot be seriously disputed that the plaintiff is a very well-known personality and has been hurt by the use of his name, figurative voice, etc. without his consent.
“I believe that the plaintiff was able to plead in his favor on the face of it. The defendants appear to be using celebrity status without his permission, permission and consent,” the HC judge said.
Judge Navin Chawla, in his interim order, issued a provisional ex parte order in favor of Plaintiff/Amitabh Bachchan and against the defendants.
The plea argued that there is infringement of the plaintiff’s personality through various means such as digital means, instant messaging apps, physical means, etc.
The digital assets include various websites and mobile apps that have been found to obscure the plaintiff’s photographs and/or other features in order to create popularity with the public and entice members of the public to download such mobile apps.
The instant messaging apps contain several unscrupulous parties found using the photo of Bachchan along with his name, and the display of a TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati (who is associated with Bachchan), to make the public believe that Kaun Banega Crorepati offers lottery prizes to members of the public.
Physical means include cases where dishonest traders physically affix the actor’s images and posters to their business locations, billboards or even to products they produce and sell for the purpose of illegally demonstrating a connection/affiliation/sponsorship . /association with the plaintiff, to increase their illegal profits.