afaqs!

Who owns Gutthi?

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | November 22, 2013
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Viacom18 has claimed the rights of the IP of the character played in its comedy show; however, the actor playing the role denies it.

After being in the news for the fire that broke out on its sets, Comedy Nights with Kapil (Colors) is again in the news, this time for losing one of its popular characters, Gutthi, played by comedian Sunil Grover. The channel has now issued a public notice claiming the intellectual property rights to the character in Comedy Nights.

A Still from Comedy Nights with Kapil featuring the character 'Gutthi'

The public notice issued by Viacom18 for character 'Gutthi's' copyright claims

Grover was in the news first for negotiating on his remuneration and then for expressing interest in starting his own show. The new show was to be called The Gutthi Show, tentatively framed around the famous character.

As per the notice issued by Viacom18 (the picture besides), it has mentioned that using the character of Gutthi anywhere else (apart from Comedy Nights) will be held as a legal copyright infringement issue. However, it must be noted that a character very similar to this appeared in Hans Baliye (played by Grover himself) on STAR One and the actor has reportedly denied that the channel or the production house (K9 productions) owns the rights to this character. However, the character got a lot of popularity after appearing on Comedy Nights.

Moreover, there are a few characters played by the lead and producer of the show, Kapil Sharma, like inspector Shamsher Singh, which have appeared on various channels before Colors (in Comedy Nights with Kapil).

The notice read: "A certain artiste and a stand-up comedian associated with the programme Comedy Nights with Kapil aired on Colors television channel is planning to launch or be associated with other shows wherein the said artiste is likely to perform the character of 'Gutthi' or use the mannerisms and characteristic features of 'Gutthi' or any other character played by the artiste in the said programme.

"Take notice that Viacom18 has sole, exclusive, absolute and unlimited ownership rights of all the intellectual property rights of the artiste associated with the programme including the rights in the format of the programme."

The popularity of the character can be gauged from the fact that there are about three to four pages in Gutthi's name on Facebook and the one with maximum likes has 8.6 lakh fans.

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