Entertainment Law News: Delhi HC Restrains Balaji from Using “Dhagala Lagli” Song, Meesha Shafi Sues Ali Zafar for INR 2 billion, Pailwan, Dream Girl Pirated Online, Four Jays Sues Apple for Unauthorised Use of Music, NMPA Raises Infringement Claims Against Peloton to USD 300 million, and more.
Delhi HC Restrains Balaji from Using “Dhagala Lagli” Song
The Delhi High Court has passed an order restraining Balaji Telefilms from using the famous Marathi song “Dhagali Lagli” in its recent release “Dream Girl”, starring Ayushman Khurana. The suit for copyright infringement and interim injunction was filed by Saregama India Ltd, which owns the rights in the song, against Balaji, Alt Digital Entertainment and Zee Telefilms. Although only two lines from the famous song were played towards the end of the film, the court held that this amounted to copyright infringement, and specifically noted that Balaji had not credited Saregama as the owner of the song.
The court also observed that such unauthorised use without providing attribution could result in irreparable loss, even if the right to receive a license fee at a later stage was protected. The court rejected Balaji’s arguments classifying the song as a “folk song”, and questioning Saregama’s copyright ownership. The court relied on the advertising adopted by Balaji, which referred to its version as a recreation of the iconic song.
Balaji is yet to appeal the order.
Meesha Shafi Sues Ali Zafar for INR 2 billion
Musician Meesha Shafi has filed a defamation lawsuit worth INR 200 crores against actor and singer Ali Zafar, whom she had earlier accused of sexual misconduct. The Lahore court, where the sexual assault case was filed, dismissed the suit and her appeal.
Meesha has sought INR 100 crores each, for the loss of goodwill and reputation caused, and for ‘mental torture and agony’. Meesha has also asked the court to declare statements made by Zafar against her as ‘false, malicious and defamatory’ and made with the intent to harm her reputation when the sexual misconduct suit against him was dismissed.
She has sought an order restraining Zafar from making further defamatory statements. Zafar had previously filed a Rs 1 billion suit against Meesha for accusing him of sexual harassment. The case is currently underway at a Lahore sessions court.
Pailwan, Dream Girl Pirated Online
The highly-anticipated film ‘Pailwan’ starring Sudeep has been leaked online on the day of its release, forcing the producers to lodge a complaint with cybercrime police and cope with huge losses.
In the complaint, producer Swapna Krishna has stated that miscreants had somehow shot a video of the film and shared it through numerous websites and mobile phone applications. Over 3500 links to the pirated copies, including those of repeat infringers like Tamilrockers, have been submitted to the cybercrime department for takedown actions.
The police have opened a case of cheating under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and some provisions of the Information Technology Act. Further investigations are under way.
Copies of the Ayushmann Khurana starrer Dream Girl have also been leaked just two days after its theatrical release.
Despite recent orders of the Delhi High Court to block links to infringing websites, many of them continue to engage in widespread piracy, often through the use of mirror links.
Four Jays Sues Apple for Unauthorised Use of Music
A copyright infringement suit was filed by Four Jays Music Company against Apple in a California court for pirating copyrighted works of popular jazz artists. The music company claims that the works of these artists, including Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, John Coltrane, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, and Louis Armstrong, are “national treasures”.
The suit states that Apple failed to obtain a license that would authorize it to reproduce, distribute, or sell the recordings of the identified composers. It alleges that Apple, with knowledge of infringing conduct, contracted with Orchard and Cleopatra, for their digital music catalog meant to be sold in iTunes store, who unlawfully reproduced and distributed pirated songs of the aggrieved composers.
It also claims that Apple has additionally failed to employ adequate human resources, screening mechanisms, or use of digital fingerprinting technology to detect unlawfully duplicate recordings in their iTunes store.
Four Jays has sought a declaration that Apple wilfully infringed it copyrights, an injunction to prevent further infringement, and statutory damages.
NMPA Raises Infringement Claims Against Peloton to USD 300 million
The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) requested an amended complaint in New York federal court against tech-enabled exercise bike start-up Peloton that would include new co-plaintiffs and add more than 1,200 musical works that the company is alleged to have infringed in its workout videos. As a result, the amount of requested damages has doubled — from USD 150 million in the original filing to now more than $300 million. Peloton faces the allegation that it lacks requisite “synchronization licenses,” which are required when music is matched or synchronised to screen visuals.
Peloton has stated that it plans to fight the lawsuit, asserting that music publishers have violated antitrust law. The music publishers have moved to dismiss those antitrust counterclaims. They deny any collusion and say that each of the publishers reached independent decisions to forgo any comprehensive licensing deal and sue Peloton for infringement.
A judge has yet to rule on the pending dismissal motion.
Authored and compiled by Ashwini Arun and Snehaja Rana (Associates, BananaIP Counsels)
The Entertainment Law News Bulletin is brought to you jointly by the Entertainment Law and Consulting/Strategy Divisions of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: Ent Law News.
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