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Media and Entertainment Law

BananaIP Counsels > Media and Entertainment Law (Page 21)

Ideas, Concepts, Scripts & Stories – Protecting Ideas in the Entertainment Industry Part III

This Image depicts a seedling is being protected by two hands on it This Image is relevant as the article deals with the Copyrights and protection of ideas. Click on this Image for more Information.

In continuation to our previous discussion on how to protect ideas in the entertainment industry, the upcoming posts in the series will discuss landmark cases and analyse how Courts consider Breach of Confidentiality claims. Previous posts in the series may be accessed here and here.

The first of these cases is Zee Telefilms Limited and Another vs. Sundial Communications Private Limited and Others:

This suit was brought by the Plaintiffs alleging Breach of Confidence in the original concept developed by the Plaintiffs and the misuse of confidential information. The Plaintiff’s was a company engaged in the business of television programming, video programming, multimedia programming, feature films, television serial production etc. They were primarily involved in coming up with various creative concepts for television programmes, which were registered with the Film Writers’ Association. Going by this trend, the Plaintiffs worked on various concepts and came up with a concept titled ‘Kanhaiyya’.

Statutory Licenses for Broadcasting – Part V: Notes on Copyright Amendment, 2012

The image has a sheet of paper with text stating "Copyright License Agreement". The post contains notes relevant to Copyright Amendment Act 2012. Click on image to view post.

The 2012 Copyright Amendment codified Statutory Licenses for radio broadcasting and has added television broadcasting to be within the scope of the license. Section 31D deals with statutory licenses for broadcasting. It reads as follows:

“31D. Statutory licence for broadcasting of literary and musical works and sound recording.

(1) Any broadcasting organisation desirous of communicating to the public by way of a broadcast or by way of performance of a literary or musical work and sound recording which has already been published may do so subject to the provisions of this section.

(2) The broadcasting organisation shall give prior notice, in such manner as may be prescribed, of its intention to broadcast the work stating the duration and territorial coverage of the broadcast, and shall pay to the owner of rights in each work royalties in the manner and at the rate fixed by the Copyright Board.

Licensing Copyrights in India

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The owner of the copyrights of any work may grant a license under the Copyright law to authorize a third party to use and distribute the copyrighted work. A copyright license may be exclusive or nonexclusive.

The term Exclusive License is defined in section 2(j) of the Copyright Act to mean and include a license which confers on the licensee and the persons authorized by him, to the exclusion of all other persons, any right comprised in the copyright of a work.

Although assignments and licenses are both contracts involved with the transfer of rights for exploitation of a copyrighted work, both have their own distinct features. A license is nothing but an authorization from the copyright owner to exercise certain acts, without which the acts are considered as infringement. Therefore, no transfer of ownership happens in cases of licenses.

Version Recordings & Cover Versions – Part IV: Notes on Copyright Amendment, 2012

The image has a sheet of paper with text stating "Copyright License Agreement". The post contains notes relevant to Copyright Amendment Act 2012. Click on image to view post.

The Copyright Amendment of 2012 moved the provisions with respect to cover versions of sound recordings out of fair dealing provisions under Section 52, into a specific statutory license provision. Making version recordings, re-recording of prior sound recordings, was earlier permitted under the Copyright Law, but codifying it as a statutory license provision formalizes the said activity in many ways. Furthermore, Section 31C, which deals with statutory licenses for cover versions clearly spells out specific conditions and limitations for making version recordings.

The Section reads as follows:

“31C. Statutory licence for cover versions.

(1) Any person desirous of making a cover version, being a sound recording in respect of any literary, dramatic or musical work, where sound recordings of that work have been made by or with the licence or consent of the owner of the right in the work, may do so subject to the provisions of this section:

Provided that such sound recordings shall be in the same medium as the last recording, unless the medium of the last recording is no longer in current commercial use.

Reversion of Assignments & Licenses – Part III: Notes on Copyright Amendment, 2012

The image has a sheet of paper with text stating "Copyright License Agreement". The post contains notes relevant to Copyright Amendment Act 2012. Click on image to view post.

The Copyright Amendment brought in a few important changes with respect to mode of assignment of works. Not exercising due care with these provisions might result in reversion of rights. Thankfully, some of these changes were all encompassing and not limited only to authors or owners of works for films.

Relevant provisions of Section 19 read as follows:

“19. Mode of assignment. …

(4) Where the assignee does not exercise the rights assigned to him under any of the other sub-sections of this section within a period of one year from the date of assignment, the assignment in respect of such rights shall be deemed to have lapsed after the expiry of the said period unless otherwise specified in the assignment.

Mode of Assignment & Licenses – Copyright Assignment & Licenses – Part II

The image has a huge copyright sign at the center of it. The post is about copyright assignment. Click on image to view post.

This post is in continuation of my earlier post regarding the meaning and principles behind copyright assignments in India. In this post, we will be specifically addressing the factors that should be taken into account while preparing an Assignment Deed and License Agreement.

Section 19 of the Copyright Act, 1957 as amended in 2012, lists certain exhaustive factors that should be taken into consideration by the parties involved, while preparing an Assignment Deed. An analysis of the factors provided in Section 19 and relevant case laws may be summarized as follows:

a) Although assignments and licenses are nothing but contractual obligations, they differ from general laws of contract in certain aspects. Unlike contracts, which permit oral (as held in Gramaphone Company of India Ltd. vs. Shanti Films Corporation AIR 1997 Cal 63) as well as unsigned contracts, a copyright assignment deed should always be in writing.

Personality Rights in India – Part II

This Image depicts the word art of 'Personality'. This Image is relevant as the article deals with the Persoanlity Rights in India. Click on this Image for more Information.

Justification for Publicity Rights is based on the Lockean Labor Theory, which essentially says that the fruits of one’s labor are one’s own. Therefore, Publicity Rights permit the exploitation of one’s persona by oneself. Unauthorized use of a person’s identity, including the person’s name, voice, image and likeness for commercial gain may give rise to a successful cause of action against the infringing party.

Since Publicity Rights are one of the two parts of Personality Rights, let us now look at the relevant law for the protection of Personality Rights:

1. The Apex Court of India has, time and again, expanded the scope of Article 21 to include various other essential fundamental rights and the Right to Privacy has been incorporated into this list of fundamental rights by the passing of the landmark judgment in the R. Rajagopal vs. State of Tamil Nadu case.

Assignment & Royalty – Part II: Notes on Copyright Amendment, 2012

The image has a huge copyright sign at the center of it. The post is about copyright assignment. Click on image to view post.

One of the primary purposes of the Copyright Amendment in 2012 was to ensure that authors get their well deserved consideration. The focus was primarily on authors, who create works for feature films. Other authors, unfortunately, received little or no attention. After making sure that producers do not take away ownership rights by signing ‘work for hire’ engagements, the amendment made changes to provisions with respect to assignment in Section 18.

The first provision in Section 18, the subject of this post, reads as follows:

“18. Assignment of copyright. (1) The owner of the copyright in an existing work or the prospective owner of the copyright in a future work may assign to any person the copyright either wholly or partially and either generally or subject to limitations and either for the whole term of the copyright or any part thereof: Provided that in the case of the assignment of copyright in any future work, the assignment shall take effect only when the work comes into existence.

Provided further that no such assignment shall be applied to any medium or mode of exploitation of the work which did not exist or was not in commercial use at the time when the assignment was made, unless the assignment specifically referred to such medium or mode of exploitation of the work:

Personality Rights in India – Part I

This Image depicts the word art of 'Personality'. This Image is relevant as the article deals with the Persoanlity Rights in India. Click on this Image for more Information.

Intellectual Property (IP) has been continuously evolving. It is now not restricted to just categories like Patents, Trademark, Designs and Copyrights. Judicial activism has widened the scope of IP to cater to new forms of protection, one such addition is “Personality Rights”.

Personality Rights are made up of two kinds of rights: the Right to publicity and the Right to privacy. The Right to publicity which is usually attributed to celebrities or famous people is of great importance to the entertainment and media field. Right to Publicity means the right to control commercial exploitation of one’s successful personality and prevent others from riding on the fame associated with his/her persona. This right stems from the Right to privacy and vests only in individuals who are ‘famous’ or those who might be understood by the public as having a reputation or goodwill that is capable of being commercially exploited. A person’s persona includes his/her name, photograph, signature, voice or any other mark of identity.

For example, in the UK, when Topshop, without Rihanna’s permission, featured a photo of her taken during a video shoot in 2011, she successfully sued Topshop’s parent company Arcadia for $5 million (£3.3 million). Justice Birss, while deciding the matter held that a substantial number of buyers were likely to have been deceived into buying the T-shirt because of false belief that it had been approved by the singer. This proves that the public needs to identify or associate an identity to a person. If such an association cannot be established, the Right of publicity does not come into existence.

Is Reporting Leaked & Copyright-Protected Material Equal to Contributory Infringement?

The image is a picture of Quintin Tarantino. The post is about a copyright claim by him. Click on image to view post.

“No”, says a federal judge in California, dismissing Hollywood’s star director, Quentin Tarantino’s claim against Gawker Media, LLC. Gawker, a magazine on a lookout for juicy news in the entertainment biz, reported the leak of Tarantino’s unpublished work by providing a direct link to the copyright protected “leaked script” for the film, “The Hateful Eight”.

Tarantino, a multiple Oscar winning/nominated writer-director, discovered that his copyright protected script was leaked. Gawker, on its website, reported the leaked Tarantino’s script in an article, the gist of it being that The Hateful Eight was leaked and that Quentin Tarantino had decided to cancel the movie. Soon after, the news of the leaked script spread like wild fire and found itself being part of news articles on various online magazines like The Wrap, which published an article claiming it had “obtained a copy” of the script, the script that was making its way around Hollywood. Interestingly, The Wrap also disclosed a trend that had found its way into Hollywood which could better explain the leaking of the copyright protected script. According to The Wrap, Hollywood assistants were now circulating a link anyone could use to download PDF copies of scripts. Another website, AnonFiles.com, posted a complete copy of the screenplay, and the same was made available later on Scribd.

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