Genius Files Suit Against Google and Lyricfind, Spotify Faces Multiple Lawsuits,Photographer Sues Pinterest for IP Violations and more

Music Website Genius Files Suit Against Google and Lyricfind; Jay-Z Files Copyright Infringement Suit Against Publisher; Spotify Faces Multiple Lawsuits for Infringement and Deceptive Trade Practices; Photographer Sues Pinterest for Intellectual Property Violations; Netflix Faces Copyright Infringement Suit in Light of Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator; Bajirao’s Descendent Files Suit Against Panipat; Legal Notice Sent to Censor Board and Filmmakers of Mardaani 2 and more.

Music Website Genius Files Suit Against Google and Lyricfind

Lyricfind and Google are being sued by popular music lyric website Genius for anti- competitive practices and breach of contract. The issue came to the forefront when Genius informed the Wall Street Journal that it had sufficient evidence to prove that lyrics were copied from their website. Genius had cleverly watermarked the lyrics by a certain pattern of apostrophes which showed up on Google’s information panel confirming the suspicions of the website. Restitution claimed was in the amount of USD 50 million for each cause of action, amounting to over USD 400 million in total. Although the site has sufficient evidence, it faces an uphill battle as the website is not the true owner of the lyrics either.
The ownership still lies with the various music artists. While Google claims that the lyrics are obtained directly from the Artists and not from scraping other sites, Lyricfind does obtain lyrics from other sites on the web and thus brings to light the possibility that it may have unknowingly copied the lyrics from the site. The Music website can bring suits for Breach of Terms of Service for copying lyrics directly from the site without the permission of the site.

 Jay-Z Files Copyright Infringement Suit Against Publisher

The rap and hip-hop mogul, Jay-Z, is bringing a case against the authors of the Book ‘A-B to Jay-Z’ written by Jessica Chiha and published by her Company, the Little Homie. The billionaire businessman complained that the Book used his name, likeness and references to ’99 Problems’ in the Book and other Little Homie products to deliberately trade on reputation and goodwill of the celebrity to avail commercial advantage. Jay-Z’s lawyers had sent many cease and desist letters to the Company. It further goes on to allege that Company had made false and misleading representations that Jay-Z was affiliated to the book and approved the use of his name. The Little Homie seemed distraught but were going to fight the case expressing their dissatisfaction in having to be involved in a legal battle with a musician the adore and respect.

Spotify Faces Multiple Lawsuits for Infringement and Deceptive Trade Practices

In August, Eminem’s Publishing company, Eight Mile Style, filed the initial Multi-billion Dollar lawsuit against Spotify. The suit in question raised issues on the provisions of the Music Modernization Act which had retroactively absolved Spotify from previous non payment of royalties and copyright infringement. The provisions that denied the right of the plaintiffs to receive profits attributable to their music was contested to be an unconstitutional denial of due process and unconstitutional taking of vested property.
Now, another suit filed by PRO Music Rights and Sosa Entertainment alleges that Spotify has failed in making payments for over 550,000,000 music streams, which mainly stems from a contested removal of content that began in May 2017. It was alleged that Spotify had removed the plaintiff’s content without warning, reason or any chance to redress the concerns for removing the plaintiff’s content. Spotify had allegedly failed to adhere to rules, policies and obligations to which Spotify holds itself out in public.

Photographer Sues Pinterest for Intellectual Property Violations

Harold Davis, the photographer, is alleging that the Digital Pin Board site, Pinterest, in its functioning, itself promotes copyright infringement, allowing users to pin images from all over the world onto their virtual pin-boards. This according to Davis is resulting in a wholesale and unauthorized copying of images. He further goes on to state that he had found ten of his photographs he had uploaded on Flickr, on Pinterest without his permission.
He further alleges that Pinterest attaches his pictures in emails sent to users without his prior permission. He further went on to question the protection that Pinterest received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its safe harbour provisions. This is not the first time that photographers have gone after Pinterest, as it faced a similar suit from Christopher Boffoli in the year 2014.

Netflix Faces Copyright Infringement Suit in Light of Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator

Ghosh’s college, Kolkata, India is claiming that the footage and photographs used in the documentary Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator is actually theirs and demand for its immediate removal. When the production team had initially reached out to Ida Jo, the Ambassador for Ghosh’s Yoga college, she relayed the information to the Ghosh’s Family who had stated their intention to not be a part of the production.
Furthermore, it was stated that Netflix needed explicit permission for the use of the videos and photographs in question and have blatantly ignored this while infringing upon the copyright of the family. The production team appropriated more than just photos and videos, which included narratives and research that they originally encountered in Kolkata for the basis of their historical depiction. There has been no attribution or acknowledgment to the Kolkata Yoga.

Bajirao’s Descendent Files Suit Against Makers of Panipat

Nawabzada Shadab Ali Bahadur, who happens to be the eighth-generation descendant of Peshwa Bajirao, has objected to a dialogue mouthed by Kriti in the trailer of the film. The translation states that whenever a Peshwa goes to battle he returns with a Mastani. The descendant felt that this was inappropriate and was disrespectful to the Peshwa, but also paints Sahiba Mastani in a bad light, as she was not a random woman but his wife. Shadab has apparently sent a legal notice to the filmmaker for the removal of the dialogue in question and is ready to move to the Courts for remedy of the same if he does not receive a response.

Legal Notice Sent to Censor Board and Filmmakers of Mardaani 2

The story of the film revolves around a fearless policewoman who seeks to catch a serial rapist and murderer. It is also alleged in the movie that this is based on true events, however, there was no known existence of such a character in the city of Kota. As it was felt to be maligning the city and its reputation at a time when it is booming with countless students coming for education, it felt that it would act as a detriment to this end. It was stated that if the name of the city was not removed, then the screenings would be blocked and the matter would be taken to the High Court to remedy the situation. It was feared that students would stop coming to study in Kota because of this movie which says its based on true events when in actuality no such killer existed in the city.
The Issue has mainly been raised by the Local Corporator of Kota, and legal notices have been sent to the Censor Board, Aditya Chopra, the producer, the Director, Gopi Puthran and the broadcasting ministry to remove the name of the city ‘Kota’ from the film.

Authored and compiled by  Neharika Vhatkar (Associate, BananaIP Counsels) and Shashank Venkat (Legal Intern)

The Entertainment Law News Bulletin is brought to you jointly by the Entertainment Law and Consulting/Strategy Divisions of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected]  with the subject: Ent Law News.
Disclaimer: Please note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected]  for corrections and take down.

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