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Monday, January 13, 2014

Indonesia's first civil search and seizure injunction


Indonesia's Commercial Court has granted its first provisional search and seizure injunction in an IP case. Regulations introduced a year or so ago allowed the courts to injunct IP infringers including to search and seize evidence.  It has been unclear how they would be enforced.

Rachmawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia's first president Sukarno sued film director Hanung Bramantyo, film company PT Tripar Multivision Plus and its owner Ram Punjabi over a film entitled "Sukarno: Indonesia Merdeka". She alleged that the film made by the defendant was not in accordance with her original script so a copyright infringement.  Under the Copyright Law Article 67 an injured party may ask the court to prevent commercial copyright infringement. The injunction rules set out a system to search for and seize infringing evidence.

A dispute arose over the contents of the film, and despite her requests to stop filming, it continued. Rachmawati is the author and copyright holder of the script and it had been previously shown as a play in Jakarta.  She also happens to be a lawyer.

Her lawsuit was filed at the Commercial Court at the Central Jakarta District Court in early December. So the Commercial Court then issued a provisional injunction. This required the film master being used to exhibit it at movie theaters to be handed over. The director apparently handed the master over a few days later, to comply with the order, so no search was needed.

Although she claimed large losses, in the formal complaint Rachmawati sought damages of only Rp1. Instead her goal was apparently to prevent the film being shown in its incorrect form.

The case was then returned to court to hear the outcome of the provisional order execution. The Judge however decided that because the film was released on December 9, 2013 yet the application for a provisional decision was made on December 10, 2013, that technically the goods had already entered the channels of trade.  Therefore oddly, he lifted the injunction and the security deposit amount of Rp250 million was returned to Rachmawati. The film continued to play.

Technically the case must now proceed to full civil trial. Whilst it is encouraging that a search and seizure injunction was granted, it was very strange to lift it for an obscure and possibly incorrect reason (the requirement that the goods must not have entered channels of trade). It will clearly take a few attempts to get the new system right.

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