Bombay High Court Rules that CBFC has no ‘Intellectual Morality’; Upcoming Film “Roohi Afza” Averts Copyright Infringement; Copyright Infringement Lawsuit filed against the film ‘Mission Mangal’; Rapper Sues Insurance Company over Copyright Infringement Lawsuit; US Copyright Office forms a Mechanical Rights Society; Huawei continues to remain on US Export Blacklist; Restrictions on Sale by E-Commerce Platforms; Etsy asks Sellers to include Shipping Price in their Items; E-Commerce Policies in India under Budget 2019, and more.
Bombay High Court Rules that CBFC has no ‘Intellectual Morality’
The Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) received flak from the Bombay High Court after it refused to issue a Universal (U) certificate to a children’s film called ‘Chidiakhana’. The court said that the board does not get to decide what one wants to watch and see and its role may have to be redefined. The Board agreed to grant the U/A certificate provided the film deleted a scene and removed an abusive word. The Children’s Film Society, who filed the petition, agreed to do so. Furthermore, court said that the art of storytelling is changing with time and it is important that the children know about issues like racism, discrimination, and child labour through films. According to the court, by asking for such scenes to be deleted in films, the board is pretending that these issues do not exist.
Jhanvi Kapoor Upcoming Film “Roohi Afza” Averts Copyright Infringement
An upcoming film starring Jhanvi Kapoor and Rajkumar Rao has changed its name from “Rooh Afza” to “Roohi Afza” (with an “I”). Rooh Afza is a very popular rose drink produced by Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) and is widely consumed in India and Pakistan. Considering the popularity of the drink and the brand, the filmmakers decided to change the name to avoid a probable copyright infringement suit. The movie was settled to be released earlier this year but is expected to release in 2020.
Copyright Infringement Lawsuit filed against the film ‘Mission Mangal’
A suit of copyright infringement is filed against Akshay Kumar’s upcoming production film Mission Mangal that is based on India’s 2013 Mars Orbiter Mission. An Indian origin American director Radha Bharadwaj approached Bombay High Court to stop the production of the film claiming that movie’s premise is similar to a screenplay she had shared with producer Atul Kasbekar in 2016. She also said that it was her idea to focus on the women and that she had registered her script with the US Copyright Office in 2016 and had recently completed shooting the film, named Space MOMs. The film’s producer and writer R Balki came forward to say that there are many claimants when it comes to a film based on a real-life incident.
Rapper Sues Insurance Company over Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
American rapper Fat Joe, (Joseph Cartagena) has sued Homeland Insurance Company over wrongfully refusing to cover his legal costs in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Joe was sued by another rapper Fly Havana (Eric Elliott) claiming that Cartagena’s ‘All The Way Up’ is “just an evolution of a track with the same name that he had produced a year back”. Cartagena never denied involvement of Elliott in creating his track and also accepted paying $5000 fee with a promise of additional future royalties. Joe went to the Insurance Company hoping to rely on his new insurance policy that covered any liabilities related to his professional music career. The insurance company accused Fat Joe of knowingly withholding important information at the time of his policy purchase referring to an ongoing situation likely to result in a claim. The insurance company informed Joe that the policy excludes coverage for claims from independent contractors claiming ownership interest.
US Copyright Office forms a Mechanical Rights Society
As a result of last year’s Music Modernisation Act, the US Copyright office chooses organisations that will take on the responsibility of distributing any mechanical royalties which are due to the songwriters and music publishers whenever their songs are streamed. This organization will henceforth be known as the Mechanical Licensing Collective, and has come to manage the new blanket mechanical license and handle royalty collection and distribution as established by the MMA. The MLCI, the group submission led by National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and the Songwriters of North America (SONA), eventually succeeded over a competing proposal known as the American Music Licensing Collective (AMLC). The Copyright Office stated that the AMLC submissions were transparent, thorough and includes a number of ideas that should be given further consideration. This is done to curb the problem of hired agents doing the job, where services need to license tens of millions of songs at launch, and thousands and thousands of new works every week.
Huawei continues to remain on US Export Blacklist
US has stated that although it would grant licenses to companies to export goods to Huawei Technologies Co., it will not remove the Chinese technology giant from an export blacklist. This has made it clear that while the US would allow companies to resume supplying some of their products to Huawei, it will also ensure that such transactions do not result in the transfer of revenue from the US to foreign firms. Department of Commerce will issue licenses where there is no threat to U.S national security but Huawei will still remain on the entity list. The Entity List is often reserved for rogue regimes and their associated companies as a way to prevent US-origin items from flowing to them.
Restrictions on Sale by E-Commerce Platforms
The Delhi High Court has restrained certain leading e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal from selling products of direct selling companies like Oriflame, Amway and Modicare without their consent. The three companies had filed pleas alleging that their products were being sold at cheaper rates on the e-commerce platforms leading to financial losses and that these goods were being tampered with and were kept with incorrect attribution of names. The court barred the e-commerce platforms from retailing products of these companies without their permission. The Court further stated if the e-commerce platforms were found to be selling such products without the consent of the respective companies, then, in doing so they can be held liable for “inducement of breach of contract and tortious interference with contractual relationships of the plaintiff’s with their distributors”. The court observed that logos, marks and product images of the products are misleading to the consumers, as seller names are not fully disclosed.
Etsy asks Sellers to include Shipping Price in their Items
Etsy, a global retailer of unique and creative goods has decided that it would start prioritizing items and shops that offer free shipping on its platform. This will be done by giving priority placement in the US search results for items and shops that ship free. Further, Etsy will also guarantee US buyers free shipping on orders of $35 or more. Etsy has advised sellers to include the cost of shipping in their retail prices, a move which has been opposed by many sellers. While it is hard for the sellers to accept this change, Etsy’s CEO justified the new free shipping policy, by stating that, buyers are more likely to buy items with free shipping.
E-Commerce Policies in India under Budget 2019
While discussing the performance of the e-commerce sector in India during the recent budget session, it has been made clear that there is a need to provide stimulus to exporters in the country, inorder to boost exports. The global e-commerce market is an annual market that includes all goods that are directly sold to a consumer from a seller located outside their country. This provides an opportunity to get a great market share globally which has a capacity of USD 450 billion, but India’s e-commerce exports raked in just USD 1.2 billion in 2018-2019. The growth in this area can be achieved by contributing maximum to the e-commerce exports such as home decor, medicinal and Ayush products, apparels and textiles, and many more. In an effort to provide an immediate boost to the e-commerce industry in India, the Ministry of Commerce needs to assume a leadership role and make e-commerce exports a priority sector. This will help bring in new foreign exchange and along with creating a large number of jobs.
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar and Anusmita Mazumder (Associates, BananaIP Counsels)
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