Delhi High Court Orders Removal of Copyrighted Mural: ST+ART India Foundation vs. Acko General Insurance

The Delhi High Court recently issued a directive to Acko General Insurance, instructing the company to take down its social media posts featuring a mural titled “Humanity.” The order was made in response to a copyright infringement suit filed ST+ART India Foundation, an organization dedicated to art projects in public spaces.

Justice Prathiba M. Sing, acknowledging that Acko General Insurance had agreed to remove the social media posts and other online content featuring the mural, mandated that the defendant take down the disputed material within 72 hours. It was also noted that specific URLs displaying the mural should be communicated to the defendant. The court stressed that this order should not impede the rights and contentions of either party.

In its lawsuit, ST+ART India Foundation claimed copyright ownership of the mural under Section 2(c)(i) and Section 13(1)(a) of the Copyright Act, 1957. The organization further asserted its moral rights over the artwork, as recognized in Section 57 of the same act. ST+ART India Foundation stated that the mural had been created an artist in collaboration with their organization, and no rights had been licensed to any third parties.

The alleged copyright infringement stemmed from Acko General Insurance’s use of the mural in an advertisement, displayed through hoardings and social media posts, for its own commercial benefit. The defendant’s counsel acknowledged that legal notices from the plaintiff had resulted in the resolution of the dispute, and the hoarding itself had been removed.

However, Justice Sing observed that despite the removal of the hoarding, the mural still remained on online platforms. The court clarified that the question of whether Acko General Insurance’s use of the artwork constituted fair dealing or fair use under the Copyright Act, 1957, needed to be examined and would require adjudication.

The court’s order should not be mistaken for an opinion on the legal issues at hand; it was passed at an ad-interim stage, taking into account the submissions made on behalf of the insurance company. The case is set to be heard further on February 2, 2024.


Q: Who is ST+ART India Foundation?

ST+ART India Foundation is an organization that works on art projects in public spaces, collaborating with artists to create visually stunning murals.

Q: What is copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement occurs when a person or organization uses someone else’s copyrighted work without obtaining proper authorization or licensing.

Q: What are moral rights?

Moral rights refer to the right of an artist to be acknowledged as the creator of their work and to protect the integrity and reputation of the artwork.

Q: What is fair dealing or fair use?

Fair dealing or fair use allows for limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright owner. The use must be for purposes such as criticism, commentary, or education, and it should not adversely affect the commercial value of the original work.