Hrithik, Beyonce, Infringement, Bombay High Court

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This weekly update on Copyrights, Media and Entertainment Law is brought to you by the Entertainment Law experts of BananaIP (BIP) Counsels.

Thought of the Week:

“Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet” – Mark Twain

Copyright Cases

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) sues Thomson Press

The Bombay High Court has recently granted a stay order in response to an injunction suit brought about by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), against the printing and publishing company – Thomson Press. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in its submission to the Court has informed the Court that it holds the copyright of Srimad Bhagvatam and the translated works of the same. In the allegation, BBT also pointed out that the reprint by Thomson Press did not claim to be an independent work and that no license has been obtained by the Press to print and publish the work in question. The stay order in the meantime prevents Thomson Press from distributing or printing the translated edition of the Bhagavad Gita till March 22, 2017 by which time, the Court will pronounce its final orders.

Copyright Registry News and Updates

Copyright publishes discrepancy list

Copyright Office issues notification to all the applicants/ concerned persons as per the list annexed to the notification to remove the respective discrepancies latest by 28th February 2017, failing which it would be assumed that the concerned applicant has abandoned his application and same shall be Recorded without acknowledging any further correspondence in this regard. The Discrepancy List can be accessed on copyright office website.

Entertainment Patent News and Updates

Technicolor sues Samsung for patent infringement

Technicolor that provides technology, products and services to companies in the media & entertainment industries initiated several patent infringement suits in Germany and France against Samsung Electronics.

Entertainment Licensing News and Updates

Trends in entertainment licensing are changing fast

Home Entertainment licensing is on the decline and digital licensing is on the rise. Over the last five years, many Indian production houses have literally closed their Home Video divisions owing to the trend. The trend in Hollywood indicates that Disney and Universal have been able to move quickly and off set the decline in Home Entertainment with Online streaming and strategic licensing deals with Netflix and others. From their financial reports, Warner Brothers and Paramount do not seem to have gotten on the bus as quickly. Some of the Indian production houses like YRF, Dharma, Arka and others are aggressive on digital platforms, but   there is not much clarity as of date if digital numbers have substituted losses in home entertainment.

Samsung has settled a license deal with Personalized Media Delivery

The patent litigation between Samsung Corporation and Personalized Media Delivery LLC, which holds more than hundred patents on delivering personalized media content to users in a variety of ways, has come to an end with a licensing agreement, whose terms have not been disclosed. With this settlement, Samsung enters the list of licensees of Personalized Media alongside Sony, Panasonic, DirectTV, CISCO, etc. Personalized Media’s technologies include inventions for content delivery through satellite, cable, internet and other modes. Users of Samsung devices may now expect enhanced personalized edia delivery through innovative modes.

Government Updates

Center submits against broadcasting of news programmes and current affairs on community radio stations and private FM

In response to an affidavit to a recent directive by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar on a public interest plea filed by the NGO Common Cause in 2013. The government through the ministry of information and broadcasting expressing the views of the home ministry submitted before the Supreme Court that it is against granting of permission to CRS (community radio stations) operators and private FM operators to broadcast news programmes and current affairs programs due to “possible security risk” in the absence of a proper mechanism to monitor such content.

International Entertainment Law News and Updates

Black Bird sues Netflix and other digital platforms for download and watch feature

Black Bird Technologies, a firm set up by two patent attorneys, has sued Netflix, Sound Cloud, Vimeo and others for providing the feature to download content and watch it offline. Black Bird is claiming that the said feature infringes its patents. The case has been filed in Delaware. The infringement suit will be interesting to watch as most digital platforms including Amazon, which recently launched audio/visual content services in India, include such a feature.

Search engines may soon restrict websites based on copyright infringement policies

Executives from entertainment groups chaired by UK’s Intellectual Property Office and search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing decided on restricting certain websites from their search result that do not comply with copyright infringement policies.

Publicity Rights News and Updates

Close shave for Tommy Hilfiger

Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan recently sent shivers down the global fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger after the clothing brand used a photograph of him with his two sons – Hrehaan and Hridaan – in an advertisement about their next season kids’ collection.  Hrithik tweeted “Dear Tommy. I dont wear u, neither do my kids endorse u. If u hv lost ur spine I hv a great team 2help u find it. Please (hil)figure urself out”. This isn’t the first time a brand has crossed the line with a celebrity or a public figure by using their picture without consent. What could have snowballed into an ugly suit for Hilfiger was quelled after the brand quickly apologized to Hrithik stating that it had no intention to suggest an endorsement and was sorry for using the image.

20 million dollar suit bounced at Beyonce 

The estate of late Anthony Barre, a New Orleans YouTube star has filed a $20 million copyright infringement lawsuit against Beyonce. The suit claims that Beyonce featured Anthony Barre’s voice in the introduction in her video dubbed “Formation”. Anthony Barre was better known as Messy Mya and was known for was known for his entertaining rants on camera, which made thousands of people laugh. The YouTube star was fatally shot in 2010.

BananaIP News and Updates

BananaIP has started a comprehensive entertainment law training and development program for its entertainment associates. The program is aimed at reducing the time scale for training new recruits, and ensuring that its team members are on the mark with latest developments in law and business of entertainment. In line with its knowledge dissemination goals, the entertainment law program may be offered at some leading law schools in 2017.

General Entertainment Law News

Film and Television industry urges government to impose lower GST rate

The Film and Television Producers Guild of India (FTPGI) urged government to fix a lower Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate of 5 per cent to encourage larger investment in infrastructure and technology.

Tender for Television and Digital Rights of IPL floated

With the 10-year deal with Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI) about to expire by the end of 2017, the Board of Cricket Control India (BCCI) has opened the tender process for the television and digital rights of  the Indian Premier League. The new deal will give television rights till 2027 while digital rights will be given till 2022. Bids will be accepted till October 25, 2017.

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