Rangoon movie, Facebook Licensing, DC Super Hero Girls, Special 301 and more

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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

“Of all the creative work produced by humans anywhere, a tiny fraction has continuing commercial value. For that tiny fraction, the copyright is a crucially important legal device.” – Lawrence Lessig

Copyright Infringement Case updates

Kangana and Rangoon team land in murky waters of copyright infringement

Film production company Nadia Movietone Pvt Ltd. has filed a copyright infringement suit against director & producer Vishal Bhardwaj and has sought a stay on the release of his movie ‘Rangoon’. The Bombay High Court has however allowed the conditional release of the movie by asking the makers of the movie to submit a bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore until the petition is finally disposed of. Nadia Movietone has alleged that the character of Miss Julia, potrayed by Kangana Ranaut in the movie ‘Rangoon’ has been blatantly lifted from the  lead character of the movie ‘Hunterwaali,’ portrayed by real-life Australian stunt actor Mary Evans, also popularly known as Fearless Nadia. The production company in its suit has alleged that Miss Julia’s character copies all of Fearless Nadia’s characters, costumes, persona and even her signature phrase.The Times of India has reported that Nadia Movietone Pvt Ltd, in its suit has claimed that it holds rights to all scripts, publicity material and posters for the Fearless Nadia films which it has produced.

Trade Mark News and Updates

Orion Pictures settles ‘RoboCop’ Trademark Fight

Orion Pictures Corp., the MGM Studios unit behind the “RoboCop” movie franchise settled to end a trademark fight with an electronics company called Robocopp. Dispute arose when Robocopp applied to register its name as a trademark. Orion claimed that Robocopp’s usage was false and misleading as it was engaged in the business of manufacturing crime-protection device which was closely associated with Orion’s well-known ‘RoboCop’ entertainment franchise and related products. Robocopp struck back stating that its products are unrelated to the entertainment industry, or any products marketed by Orion.

Entertainment Patent News and Updates

Sony files patent for Vive-like tracking system.

Sony Interactive Entertainment has filed a patent for a new system to track virtual reality devices that’s not dissimilar to that of the HTC Vive. Sony’s lighthouse style VR tracking system could change user’s PlayStation VR experience in coming days if put to use. The patent application provides that Sony’s lighthouse style VR tracking uses a method wherein it projects a beam to determine the player’s position in the play-space based on light and mirrors which is more accurate than the current internal tracking system. The current PlayStation VR depends on the PlayStation camera to pick up lights emitted from various position of the headset. However, the new system provides more accurate and immersive experience, bringing PlayStation VR closer to the likes of Oculus and the HTC Vive.

Entertainment Licensing News and Updates

New Music Licensing Opportunities on Facebook

CIOL has reported that Facebook is looking to license music for inclusion on its platform for use by people on Facebook. Users will be able to pick music clips from the Facebook’s licensed library and use them without copyright or other IP risks. This is bound to open great revenue opportunities for music publishers, record labels, and musicians as the reach could be phenomenal. Facebook now has an anti-piracy tool to prevent copyright infringement on the social media platform.

License Deal for DC Super Hero Girls Toys

JAKKS Pacific has entered into an international licensing deal with Warner and DC Entertainment to make, market and distribute DC Super Hero Girls action pose toys. The toys will be based on DC Super Girls Universe, which tracks the life of Super Heroes such as wonder woman, bad girl, etc, during their teenage years, before they acquire their special powers.

Amazon and Green Gold Animation enter into an exclusive multi-year content deal

Green Gold Animation a leading creator of premium kids’ content and Amazon entered into any exclusive multi-year content deal to make Amazon Prime Video India the exclusive subscription streaming home for all of Green Gold Animation’s future TV episodes. The deal also gives Prime members in India access to Green Gold Animation’s vast library of top-rated shows and movies.

International Entertainment Law News and Updates

Entertainment Industry Tops the US Copyright Law Suit Chart

Citing a study by Lex Machina, IP Watchdog reported that District Court action with respect to copyright law suits is highest in California. The Central District of California received 4412 copyright law suits between 2009 and 2016. Music Broadcasting filed more than thousand suits, and organisations like Sony and Warner are among the top copyright case filers. Active defendants include organisations like Amazon, Ross, etc.

Entertainment Industry Recommends Thailand off the Priority Watch List in Special 301

Thailand is listed alongside India in the Special 301 priority watch list issued by USTR in 2016. Owing to its aggressive anti-piracy, anti-counterfeiting and enforcement activities, the film, music, books and software bodies in US have expressed their satisfaction and recommended its removal from the list. The pharma and biotech industry organisations have however advised its inclusion in the watch list this year as well.

BananaIP News and Updates

BananaIP (BIP) Counsels acquires Patent Application on Entertainment Management System

BananaIP (BIP) Counsels has recently acquired a patent application filed by Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala, Mr. Somashekar Ramakrishna, Mr. Nitin Nair, and Ms. Sharada Kalamadi, with respect to entertainment content, licensing and royalty management in India. The patent application has been filed in India and USA, and enables efficient and effective management of rights, royalty and licensing. As  content licensing opportunities increase by the day, this system will not only prove to be very useful for tracking and complying with statutory and contractual terms, but can also play an important role in enhancing opportunities and opening new doors.

General Entertainment Law News

Shemaroo ties-up with Hathway to provide ad-free service on cable TV

Shemaroo Entertainment joined hands with cable service provider Hathway Cable to offer premium paid ad-free services for free to the consumers for the first month, and at different price points post promotional period.

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