Passing an ex-parte interim injunction, the Delhi High Court has clarified copyright protection concerning religious scriptures.
While no one can claim copyright for texts like the Bhagavad Gita or Bhagavatam themselves, interpretations, adaptations, or dramatic works created from these texts are entitled to copyright protection.
Justice Prathiba M. Singh said that copyright law applies to the manner in which these scriptures are interpreted and adapted by various individuals, including spiritual teachers and gurus.
The court’s remarks came during a copyright infringement case filed by Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, which holds copyrights for works written by Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
The court found extensive infringement and piracy of the plaintiff’s works, noting that the defendants were reproducing the works, including translations, interpretations, and introductions.
It issued an interim injunction against the defendants, instructing Google and Meta to take down related applications and pages and ordered authorities to block the infringing websites.