Censorship, Publicity Rights, Licensing, Merchandizing, Technology, Blockchain, Cases, Copyright Tips and more

Censorship, Publicity Rights, Licensing, Merchandizing, Technology, Blockchain, Cases, Copyright tips and more, presented by the Media & entertainment law attorneys and experts of BananaIP Counsels, India’s Premier New Age IP Firm.

Quote of the Week

“Every film must be assessed through the eyes of the contemporary, Intelligent, Informed Spectator with a distracted mind, and not the outdated, Innocent, gullible Spectator of the past.
The rapid progress of entertainment technology, and the emergence of novel modes and means of content distribution obviates the need for censoring public exhibition of films.”

– Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala, Renowned IP Attorney, Author and Professor.

Copyright Cases

  • Bhjopuri producer loses Copyright case against Anushka Sharma’s movie – ‘PHILLAURI’

Anushka Sharma’s Phillauri found itself in legal battle as Dashrath Rathod, a Bhojpuri actor-producer filed a Copyright infringement case against the movie in the Bombay High Court. Rathod claimed that the movie is a copy of his 2013 trilingual film, Mangal Phera, and in addition demanded a stay on its release this Friday. The Court however seeing no merit in the case dismissed the case and ordered a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh for the last minute budge without any relevant evidence.

  • Ilayaraja and SPB wrangle on Copyright Royalty issue

Legendary playback singer S.P Balasubrahmanyam (SPB) who is currently on a world tour celebrating 50 years in the film industry received a legal notice from the music maestro Ilayaraja citing copyright infringement for performing his compositions in the music tour without his permission. SPB however, contended that his world tour will go on but without any songs composed by Ilayaraja to avoid any further complications.

  • Super Cassettes Industries Private Limited vs SCN Sujla Channel, CS (COMM) 67/2016 and IA No.1415/2016

The Plaintiff, Super Casette Industries (operating under the brand T-SERIES) filed a Copyright infringement suit against a cable operator in Rajasthan, SCN Sujla Channel contending that Defendants used their songs and film extracts without obtaining any licenses for broadcasting the same. The Plaintiff filed a suit before the High court of Delhi seeking reliefs in the nature of permanent injunction against infringement of the copyrights, rendition of accounts, damages, etc. The defendant were served with the legal notice which they chose not to respond by any reply to the said legal notice nor came forward to participate in the proceedings before the court. The Delhi High Court having heard the contentions and arguments advanced by the Plaintiff found the Defendants guilty of infringing the Copyright of the Plaintiff and ordered permanent injection against Defendants and imposed Rs. 5 lakh for punitive damages

Copyright Board and Copyright Society Updates

  • Government to replace Copyright boards with IPAB

The Central Government through the Finance Bill, 2017 plans to dissolve 8 Appellate Tribunals with their work being allotted to existing tribunals. The tribunals being dissolved include the Copyright Board which would be replaced and its functions taken over by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board. The other tribunals being replaced are Competition Appellate Tribunal whose functions would be taken by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT); Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal and Cyber Appellate Tribunal would be replaced and their functions would be taken over by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal; The National Highways Tribunal would be replaced and its functions would be taken over by the Airport Appellate Tribunal; Employees Provident Fund Appellate Tribunal would be taken over by the Industrial Tribunal. Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange under FEMA is also being dissolved.

  • Government of India to set up a Copyright Board exclusively for media & entertainment

As part of three-day mega event of the business of Media and Entertainment (M&E) on the theme, ‘Digital: Divide or Dividend’, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) & Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) contemplated on modalities to set up a ‘Copyright Board’ which would oversee strict implementation of intellectual property rights laws for the entertainment industry, particularly the film industry. In addition to this Mr. Ajay Mittal, Secretary of Information & Broadcasting informed that a new category of visa called ‘Film Visa’ would be introduced for the ease of shooting a film in India.

 Entertainment trademark news and update

  • ‘Veerey Di Wedding’ or ‘Veerey Ki Wedding’?

Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor starrer ‘Veerey Di Wedding’ movie is embroiled in a fresh controversy as it is confusingly similar to Jimmy Shergill’s upcoming movie titled ‘Veerey Ki Wedding’. While Kapoors claim to have registered the title first with the Indian Film and TV Producers Council, director of ‘Veerey Ki Wedding’ on the other hand claims to have a trademark and copyright registration for the title of the movie. The Kapoors approached the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) for their intervention. IMPPA however, granted the director of ‘Veerey Ki Wedding’ permission to use the title upon learning about the trademark and the completion of about 80% of the film. Kapoors’ would therefore be left to choose a new title.

  • Selene Gomez to trademark her name

Selena Gomez has recently filed papers to trademark her name which would guarantee that the actress is the only “Selena Gomez” in the entertainment industry. In addition Gomez has filed the trademark application for her name in jewelry lane too.

Entertainment Technology

  • Microsoft licenses its Patents to Toyota

Microsoft Corp. with an aim to establish itself as a key provider of connected-car technology licensed a batch of patents to Toyota Motor Corp. Specific details of the deals although not disclosed, Microsoft nevertheless highlighted that the deal consisted of patents relating to navigation, predictive maintenance, entertainment, and voice recognition capabilities of Azure. Microsoft’s patents for connected cars consists of patented technology that would predict cars maintenance requirements assisting the drivers to get the problem fixed before a break down on the road. This patented technology is further capable of anticipating drivers choice allowing it to personalize entertainment for whoever is driving.

  • PRG acquires Patent on Ground Control Followspot System

The USPTO recently granted a utility patent for the award-winning Ground Control Followspot System to Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions. Ground Control Followspot System allows a followspot operator to remotely operate a high output automated luminaire as a followspot from up to 2,000 feet away. Further the Ground Control Followspot System includes a built-in camera and can be flown or mounted in locations around a venue which would not normally accommodate a followspot.

  • BlockChain, IP and Creativity

BlockChain technology, which was first implemented for BITCOIN, is fast emerging as an important intellectual property tool. Several services like Prior Things have sprung up in the last two years to enable application of blockchain to confidential information, creative works, inventions, etc. Many experts believe that it is just a matter of time before blockchain attachment becomes the first step before IP protection is sought.

Entertainment Licensing News and Updates

  • Golfer Greg Norman to sell his future licensing rights and endorsement income to Authentic Brands Group (ABG)

ABG will become a partner in controlling the direction of the consumer products division of the Greg Norman Company, which was known as Great White Shark Enterprises. As part of this deal, ABG shall pay an undisclosed sum to Norman. Through this Licensing deal ABG shall not only manage the brand in apparel and accessories but also in Norman’s well developed business. ABG is particularly interested in getting Norman to health and wellness as he is an embodiment of fitness.

  • Warner Bros. Films are coming to China’s Netflix

Warner Bros. has announced its new licensing agreement with iQiyi, the streaming video platform owned by Chinese Internet search giant Baidu giving them exclusive streaming rights of about 200 Warner Bros. movies. The companies have not disclosed the specific financial terms of the deal, but the agreement is part of the growing trend of Hollywood working closely with Chinese media companies.

  • Marilyn Monroe Spas to open 250 franchises in India

Marilyn Monroe Spas, the US based Spas under the iconic Marilyn Monroe brand will franchise 250 locations throughout India in a partnership with La Vida Investment Holding for a period of 10 years. This agreement is Marilyn Monroe Spas first international franchise agreement. Marilyn Monroe Spas currently has locations in California, Florida, Hawaii, New York and Texas. In addition to India several other international locations are also being explored, including Canada, China, Dubai and South America as part of their international expansion. Targeted cities in India include Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and more.

Publicity Rights Licensing

  • Marilyn Monroe Trade Mark and Publicity Rights

The application for declaratory judgment filed by AVELA with respect to Marilyn Monroe’s trade marks has now metamorphozed into a full blown suit on various counts. Marilyn Monroe’s estate is claiming trade mark validity, and thereby attempting to control merchandizing of the celebrity’s name and persona. As Marilyn Monroe was living in New York, publicity rights may not be available in California, and the question of trade mark rights in the absence of celebrity rights will be an interesting one for the California Court to answer.

Music Licensing

  • Spotify to sign license deals with big Record Labels

Spotify’s licenses with Universal, Sony, Warner and others have expired, and it is looking to re-negotiate new deals. Spotify’s reduction of the share of right owners has not gone very well with record labels, and they are demanding additional flexibilities and benefits. Commitments towards marketing, minimum guarantee and ability to control free content are among demands of Record Labels. It has been reported that Spotify’s IPO is dependent on reducing share and renewing licenses.

Film Merchandizing

  • Movie Merchandize reaches Bananas and Pineapples

Walt Disney has tied up with Dole to launch fruits and vegetables with respect to its film ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Dole will be launching Bananas, Pineapples and salads based on characters in the film. The concept is to generate revenues by promoting healthier living.

 Other Legal Updates

  • Maharashtra to fight online Piracy by setting up an IP crime unit

Maharashtra is ready to set up the Maharashtra Intellectual Property Crime Unit, which may be called MIPCU. MIPCU is a joint endeavour of the entertainment industry and the state government to effectively fight cyber crime and online piracy.

Government Updates

  • Ministry of I&B: Teleport operators to furnish the detailed list of TV Channels

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has made it mandatory for all the companies having teleport permission to furnish the detailed list of TV Channels being uplinked from their teleport every month. Furnishing of this information is mandatory and non-compliance of the notice would amount to violation under the uplinking guidelines.

BananaIP’s Entertainment Licensing Tip

Every IP right is a source of revenue, and care must be taken to capture right grants very clearly. At a general level, grant must be clear with respect to IP rights, means/modes, field, business area, term, territory, nature of license, etc. An ambiguous grant can close doors to potential licensing revenues.

It is important to plan and strategize rights management before embarking on the licensing journey.

References: 1

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