Recent copyrights cases, Entertainment Trademark News, International copyright updates, copyright tip of the week and more, presented by the Media & entertainment law attorneys and experts of BananaIP Counsels, India’s Premier New Age IP Firm.
Copyright Thought of the Week
“The right to be attributed as an author of a work is not merely a copyright, it is every author’s basic human right.” Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala
Indian Copyright Cases
Metro Tyres v. MRF – ASCI
The Delhi High Court recently passed a judgment in Metro Tyres v. MRF, the judgment upheld the rights of ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) to decide on allegations of copyright infringement in media advertisements. The Court pointed out that the jurisdiction vested in the District Court by the Copyright Act does not preclude ASCI from making a decision on the dispute between Metro and MRF.
Delhi HC issues a stay on OnePlus 3T Ad starring Amitabh Bachchan.
Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has approached the Delhi High Court alleging Copyright infringement against a Chinese mobile manufacturer OnePlus over a television advertisement copying the format of Kaun Banega Crorepati show for which SPN holds all Intellectual Property rights. Amitabh Bachchan who is featured in the OnePlus Advertisement was also the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati show by SPN. The Court has issued a stay against OnePlus Ad for now.
Indian Entertainment Updates
Copyright Infringement allegations against ‘Hindi Medium’
After allegations of copyright infringement on recent movies such as Rangoon & Pilhauri, another Bollywood movie titled ‘Hindi Medium’ starring Irrfan Khan has been accused of plagiarism by filmmakers Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee. The filmmakers have claimed that the Irrfan Khan starrer is a blatant copy of the 2014 Bengali film “Ramdhanu”.
Javed Akhtar appointed New Chief of Indian Performing Right Society
Javed Akhtar, the famous poet, scriptwriter, and lyricist who spearheaded the Copyright Amendment Act has been appointed as the chairman of the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS). Achille Forler, one of the most experienced copyright administrator in the country and long-time activist for authors’ rights, has also been made a Permanent Advisor to the Board.
International Copyright News
US Copyright Office’s Study on Moral Rights
The US Copyright commenced a study on moral rights, the right of integrity and paternity, and invited comments from interested persons. The deadline for making comments expired on 30th March, 2017, and the time for reply comments will expire on 15th May, 2017. In US, only Visual Artists have moral rights, and the move is aimed at considering the possibility of extending the same to other authors.
Naked Sculpture from a Photograph is infringing
In a recent decision, a Paris Court held that a sculpture of Jeff Koon’s that is based on a photograph of Jean-François Bauret infringes the work of the photographer. The Court stated that – permission was required before making the sculpture from the photograph, and adding embellishments to the sculpture did not make the sculpture non-infringing. It rejected the argument of parody by stating that the sculpture is not distinct, and does not evoke humour or mockery.
Entertainment Trademark News and Updates
CocoVaa or CocoVia?
Mars Inc., an American global chocolate manufacturer has approached the Eastern District Court of Virginia against a startup entrepreneur, Syovata Edari, alleging that her company named CocoVaa is identically similar to ‘CocoaVia’, Mars’ line of chocolate-derived dietary supplements, and in claim that Edari should refrain from using the name and to pay damages to Mars.
International Entertainment Law Cases
Big Bang Theory and Soft Kitty conundrum, finally resolved.
The iconic song “Soft Kitty, warm kitty” used on several episodes of the comedy show “The Big Bang Theory” has been declared free on infringement. A U.S. judge dismissed a lawsuit claiming that the hit CBS comedy borrowed lyrics without permission for “Soft Kitty,” The lawsuit was first intitated in December 2015 by the daughters of Edith Newlin, a New Hampshire nursery school teacher who had written the nearly identical poem “Warm Kitty” in the 1930s.
Marvel Comics gain a partial victory!
In 2015, Horizon Comics Productions brought an action against Marvel Entertainment, alleging that Iron Man’s body armor in the Iron Man 3 movie is deceptively similar to Horizon’s comic book Radix which was created in 2001. The judge held that the motion cannot be completely dismissed as there are similarities on the total concept and overall feel between the two armors. The Judge however further stated that an average observer would clearly see the dissimilarities between the works and would not conclude that one was copied from the other.
Entertainment and Copyright Licensing and Merchandizing
Studio 100 Blinky Bill’s entertainment licenses in Nordics
Studio 100 has entered into licensing deals with broadcasting and home video agencies to take the Blinky Bill adventures to Nordics. The series will now be available in Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Adult Toy licensing and merchandizing
Lovehoney, a company that specializes in adult toys has been nominated for the prestigious LIMA awards. The company had earlier won awards for 50 Shades of Grey Official Pleasure and Motor Head Official Pleasure merchandize collections. It has now been nominated for Tokidoki x collection. The merchandizing of erotic content into related products ranging from vibrators to strokers is quite a new concept and therefore is a very interesting issue to discuss.
DMCA Safe Harbour and its impact on Royalty
A study by the Phoenix Centre states that authors and copyright owners are losing close to a billion dollars because of the DMCA safe harbour provisions. The study estimates that subscription services charge eight to ten times more than open services such as YouTube. It also points out that numerous instances of copyright infringement of songs and music subsist on YouTube, and that extensive effort and money is spent on take down procedures.
BananaIP Tip of the Week
Piracy is good for you, but bad for the Creator
Many of us are used to accessing creative works from books to movies illegally, and find it difficult, almost unacceptable, to pay for them. Knowledge dissemination, access to information and public interest are often cited as reasons to justify the same.
How many people actually spare a thought for the creator, the author and the artist, who bring these creative works into being? Don’t you think the effects of piracy filter down to the authors and creators? Is the fact that producers, commissioners and others make more money than authors and creators a valid justification to copy works for free?
It is time to spare a thought before you commit the next act of piracy.