| Barbara Taylor Bradford
Calcutta, Aug. 4: The legal tussle between Barbara Taylor Bradford and the Sahara network finally came to an end today.
Bradford, fighting a copyright violation suit against the channel since April, decided she “will take this matter no further” after the Supreme Court rejected her petition for a stay on the telecast of the controversial megaserial Karishma – The Miracles of Destiny.
Bradford claimed the blockbuster lifted the plot of her 1979 novel, A Woman of Substance, which has sold 24 million copies worldwide. In a written statement from her Manhattan office, she called the verdict — which allows her to continue the original plagiarism suit in Calcutta High Court — a “blow to the entire literary profession”.
Her “fight against plagiarism” was “derailed”, the statement read, “despite a videotaped admission of guilt by the director of the series and evidence pointing to hundreds of similarities” between the show and the book.
“The highly questionable treatment received in the Indian court system” was the reason she gave for dropping the suit.
“In failing to instate a permanent injunction against the Sahara network to prevent them from broadcasting an Indianised version of A Woman of Substance, the Supreme Court of India has given Bollywood a green light to plagiarise the work of any author without fear of penalty,” she said.
“Though we were warned that getting a fair judgment in India was unlikely, we believed that our case of copyright infringement was significant, based on substantial evidence, most of which was not properly considered,” the statement said.
Bradford alleged that the evidence submitted to the apex court today, detailing the similarities between the book and the first few episodes of the series, was not “permitted for presentation”. The decision, she added, was based on “no legal precedent”.
Bradford, who has just released the fourth part of the Emma Harte saga, the character who Karisma Kapoor’s Devyani is allegedly based on, thanked “everyone in the literary community who has lent support and encouragement in my quest to fight plagiarism in India”. She didn’t forget “the thousands of readers in India who came forward to express their approval over my actions”.
The Calcutta appellate court had slapped the bestselling writer with damages amounting to several lakhs. The Supreme Court set aside the damages, which were compensation for costs incurred by Sahara and loss caused by the delay in telecast.