Friday 3 July 2015

Westland drags Flipkart to Delhi HC, alleges copyright violation in Amish Tripathi’s Amazon tie-up for ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’

Writer Amish Tripathi's latest novel, which retells the story of Ramayana and turns it into a gripping thriller, is now scripting the latest battle in the digital world, as a spat over its online selling rights between Amazon and Flipkart has reached the Delhi High Court.

Westland Ltd, the Tata Group-owned publisher of the `Scion of Ikshvaku', has dragged to the Delhi High Court, alleging that the ecommerce company is violating copyrights and IT Act by selling the novel
on its platform.

Westland says it has signed a two-month exclusive deal with Amazon to sell the book through its online platform.

Flipkart, however, denied any violation. "Flipkart is a marketplace which helps sellers connect with customers across the country. The matter is sub judice before the Honourable Delhi High Court, which on 30 June 2015 declined to pass any restraint order against Flipkart India or any of the sellers on the sale of the said book," a company spokesperson told ET on Thursday.

That sounds just the same as what an Amazon spokesperson had said last year when the two ecommerce giants had a similar spat over Chetan Bhagat's novel `Half rights be Girlfriend', for which Flipkart had an exclusive deal with publisher Rupa to sell the book online.

Then Rupa had objected to Amazon selling the book on its platform. And a spokesperson of the ecommerce platform said: "We are an open marketplace and sellers on our form are free to choose the selection that they wish to offer their customers using our marketplace platform."

Now, the tables have turned.

An email sent to Amazon on the latest book controversy did not elicit any response as of press time Thursday. Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO at Westland, declined to comment because the matter is sub judice. 

A lawyer representing Westland, claimed that selling the book on Flipkart is in violation of copyright and the IT Act. "You cannot sell it and if any distributor is selling it through Flipkart, they are violating my copyrights," the person said. 

 Tripathi is one of the best-selling authours in the country, having gained international fame and acclamation for his Shiva trilogy.

Scion of Ikshvaku is the first book in `Ram Chandra series'.

Sensing the potential of the book, Amazon signed an exclusive deal with Westland and ran television commercial promoting the book during year's Indian Premier League t20 cricket tournament.

This is the latest in a series of spats between Flipkart and Amazon, a reminiscent of the early 2000s when beverages giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo feuded over something or the other almost every day. 

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