Delhi HC Issues Order Against Piracy Sites; Season 2 of Netflix Original Sacred Games Subject to Rampant Piracy; Apple Sues Corellium for Copyright Infringement; YouTube Sues Copyright Troll for Extortion; US Govt Supports Led Zepplin in Infringement Case; Pakistan Bans Sale of Indian Film CDs; CBS and Viacom Merge to Form ViacomCBS; YouTube Updates Policy to Protect Content Creators from False Copyright Claims; Porsche Taycan to Stream Apple Music directly into the car; Government e-Marketplace (GeM) to be Restructured as e-Commerce Platform; Fintech Firm Suvidhaa to Enter E-Commerce Market; Bytedance Remodels Smartisan’s e-Commerce Platform and more.
Delhi HC Issues Order Against Piracy Sites
Several production houses, including Warner Bros, Universal, and Netflix, approached the Delhi High Court, seeking an order to block user access to URLs through which pirated copies of movies and TV series were being made available to users for viewing or download.
The Delhi High Court instructed Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to block user access to the URLs of websites including Tamilrockers, Limetorrents, Skytorrents, and others. It also ordered the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to suspend the domain name registrations (DNR) of these streaming websites. However, it is unclear how the concerned government departments will be able to enforce the suspension of domain names registered by registrars outside India.
Season 2 of Netflix Original Sacred Games Subject to Rampant Piracy
The second season of Sacred Games, the first Netflix Original series in India, was released last week. Unfortunately, it has fallen prey to rampant piracy. Within a week of its debut on Netflix, Sacred Games was made available for free on several websites and through dedicated channels on messaging apps like Telegram.
While piracy in the movie industry has been prevalent for over a decade, television networks and streaming platforms have been facing increasing instances of piracy in the last few years, often due to regional restrictions on access and high subscription costs. Pirated copies of unavailable content offer users a popular and inexpensive alternative, and availability of improved internet facilities allow users to access such content without compromising on quality.
Apple Sues Corellium for Copyright Infringement
Virtualization software company Corellium has been sued by Apple in a Florida court for creating and commercializing exact digital replicas of Apple’s computer programs. Apple claimed that Corellium provides ‘virtual versions’ of Apple’s products which can be accessed by anyone using a web browser. Apple has sued for copyright infringement of computer programs and graphical user interface, and contributory infringement.
In its defence, Corellium has claimed that that it provides such products to promote research to identify flaws in Apple’s software. However, it remains to be seen whether a court will accept this defense, given the extent of infringement and the fact that Corellium has been encouraging its users to sell their results to the highest bidder. This is despite Apple’s active support for the good faith discovery of security flaws, and policy of publicly crediting and rewarding security researchers.
YouTube Sues Copyright Troll for Extortion
YouTube has sued one of its users, Christopher Brady, for falsely alleging copyright infringement and extorting money from two gamers. The gamers later posted a video on the online platform with a statement to this effect. Copyright striking, as it is referred to in the YouTube community, is the filing of a copyright infringement claim against a video on the streaming platform. YouTube follows a strict copyright regime whereby it takes down content immediately if there is a complaint of infringement, but says it cannot allow abuse of such provisions by any user. However, the takedown process has been misused by several third parties, for taking down content uploaded by the copyright owners themselves and extorting money from them to have the content re-instated.
US Govt Supports Led Zepplin in Infringement Case
The rock band Led Zepplin’s famous musical creation, ‘Stairway to Heaven’, has been the subject matter of a copyright infringement suit which has drawn support from a large number of artists. In support of the band, the Department of Justice of the US Government has recently reached out with an ‘amicus brief’, a legal document filed in an appellate court by third parties who are strongly interested but not directly involved in the subject matter of the suit. The Government has justified in the brief saying that it is imperative for the State to have a proper interpretation of copyright law in the interest of fostering creativity and innovation. Questions like whether copyright protection could be extended to basic musical elements like chords or chromatic scale have also been raised.
Pakistan Bans Sale of Indian Film CDs
Pakistan has resorted to a ban on all Indian films and television commercials in the aftermath of the revocation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has also decided to run a crackdown on every CD store in the country to seize and confiscate any CD showing Indian films. It is feared that a blanket ban on films, especially Bollywood movies which are widely popular in Pakistan, would result in widespread piracy and losses to the Indian film industry. This move by the Pakistan government is similar to previous bans or suspensions it has put in place when its relations with India have been strained in the past.
CBS and Viacom Merge to Form ViacomCBS
After years of negotiations, CBS and Viacom have finally come to a mutually acceptable deal to combine their companies. This merger is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019. This all-stock merger will create a combined company worth more than USD 28 billion in revenue. The current CEO of Viacom will become the President and CEO of ViacomCBS after the merger. The merged company’s portfolio includes brands like CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, and Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures. The company will also include more than 750 series currently ordered or in production, along with a content library comprising of over 140,000 TV episodes and more than 3,600 film titles. The merger is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Along with the merger announcement, CBS and Viacom have laid out a three-part strategy for future growth. First, to accelerate and expand its direct to consumer strategy. Second, to build on its current distribution and advertising efforts, and third, to create a content producer and licensor business with customers including Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MPVD), broadcast and cable networks, subscription and ad-supported streaming services, mobile providers and social platforms.
YouTube Updates Policy to Protect Content Creators from False Copyright Claims
YouTube’s new policy change is directed towards defending content creators. YouTube has recently witnessed multiple disputes between content creators and third parties that claim a share in video revenue over the intended or accidental use of copyrighted work. This move is intended to improve fairness in the creator ecosystem, while still respecting copyright owners’ rights to prevent unlicensed use of their content. This policy change does not restrict the copyright owner from claiming monetization through legal recourse but does add a layer of protection for content creators. In addition, this policy is applicable only to copyright holders who manually claim videos, and the companies that use YouTube’s automatic Content ID match system will not be affected. This policy change is a welcome move for creators who have been becoming increasingly frustrated with the company.
Porsche Taycan to Stream Apple Music Directly Into the Car
In a step towards the advancement of in-car entertainment, Porsche and Apple are bringing music streaming directly into Porsche’s much-awaited Taycan model. Since the announcement of an all-electric car in 2015, Porsche executives have reportedly stressed that the Taycan’s performance, styling and technology will befit its rich legacy. Apple is already a major player in the competitive in-car information and entertainment (infortainment) system with Apple CarPlay. However, unlike existing Apple CarPlay systems, the Taycan will not need an iPhone to be plugged into the system for streaming Apple Music. Taycan will also come with three years of in-car internet data and will include roaming.
Government e-Marketplace (GeM) to be Restructured as e-Commerce Platform
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India has proposed to sell products that are manufactured by private companies on the e-commerce platform Government e-Marketplace (GeM). The e-commerce platform will be able to offer business-to-consumer (B2C) retail options, which will allow both consumers and business to directly purchase from the GeM website.
Presently, GeM only permits government departments and public sector units to buy from the portal, however after the new plan is implemented the marketplace will be open to everyone.
Fintech Firm Suvidhaa to Enter E-Commerce Market
Suvidhaa Infoserve, the fintech company that offers customised transaction services, is now keen on entering the e-commerce market. However, Suvidhaa will focus on a niche segment of this market, of exclusive clearance sales. Currently the plan is to focus on selling branded products until stocks last.
This initiative is in its initial stages and is being run in a closed beta form with test users. The e-commerce platform will be called Suvideals.ooo and is financially backed by Shapoorji Pallonji, the Indian business conglomerate. This new marketplace will be directed towards small businesses, traders and individuals who are engaged in unorganized liquidation channels and will also ensure the promotion of their products.
Bytedance Remodels Smartisan’s e-Commerce Platform
Bytedance, the Chinese internet technology company, recently purchased the education hardware patents and e-commerce operations of Smartisan, the Chinese smartphone maker. The main objective behind this purchase for Bytedance is to expand its revenue stream by taking advantage of the growing number of e-commerce users. Bytedance will only be changing certain aspects of the platform but will maintain the original Smartian e-commerce app.
Bytedance has earlier backed Toutiao, with its factory-to-store e-commerce platform, Zhidian, along with another e-commerce project called Xincao which is being developed. This e-commerce platform will be competing with some of the existing platforms in this sector which include Alibaba and Pinduoduo and will remain in the experimental stage for the next year.
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar, Ashwini Arun, Anusmita Mazumder and Snehaja Rana (Associates, BananaIP Counsels)
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