YouTube Wins Against Copyright Troll; Queen Complaint Gets Another Trump Video Off Twitter; Katy Perry Appeals Copyright Infringement Judgement; Vietnam Bans the Film ‘Abominable’; Ujda Chaman and Bala Lock Horns at the Box Office; Sajid Khan Sends Notice for Not Getting Credit; Joker Leaked on Tamilrockers and more.
YouTube Wins Against Copyright Troll
YouTube has recently settled a matter against troll named Christopher Brady, who was accused of issuing false notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The lawsuit against Brady was filed in August of this year, after YouTube found that he targeted Minecraft and gaming creators “Kenzo” and “ObbyRaidz” using false copyright claim takedowns. YouTube complied with the DMCA and took down the videos, but later found that Brady was using these copyright strikes only to get a payout by pressuring the creators to pay a lump sum of cash.
YouTube stated that Brady would allegedly strike two videos on a channel and then demand cash; which users were willing to pay to avoid the third strike that would result in their termination from YouTube. During the settlement, Brady confessed and apologised for his actions and the impact that it had. As per the settlement agreement, Brady is now prohibited from submitting any such alleged copyright infringement notices that misrepresent material on YouTube as infringing on any copyrights claimed to be held by Brady or anyone that Brady represents.
This settlement could serve as a lesson for those who intend to or continue to misuse YouTube’s copyright system and could serve as a deterrent for such future incidents.
Queen Complaint Gets Another Trump Video Off Twitter
Music publishers for rock band Queen have successfully taken down a campaign video released by US President Donald Trump from Twitter through a copyright infringement complaint. The video contained the entirety of Queen’s iconic song ‘We will rock you’ playing in the background.
A spokesperson for the band clarified that Queen had not authorised the Trump campaign to use the song, which had amassed over 1.7 million times, before being eventually taken down by Twitter.
This is not the first time that the Trump campaign has gotten into trouble for playing music at a political rally without authorisation. Earlier this month, a video of a Trump rally featuring the song ‘Photograph’ by the band Nickelback, was taken down due to copyright infringement issues.
Katy Perry Appeals Copyright Infringement Judgement
Singer Katy Perry, publisher Capitol Records, and other collaborators on the song ‘Dark Horse’, have recently filed an appeal before the Ninth Circuit against the previous decision of a Los Angeles jury that required Perry & Co. to pay USD 2.78 million in damages for copyright infringement. The singer and her co-defendants claimed that they did not find any evidence to support the jury’s decision, which concluded that they had copied specific parts of the song ‘Joyful Noise’ by Marcus Gray.
Perry and the co-defendants have stated that the “views gained by Joyful Noise can hardly constitute widespread dissemination” and refer to the track’s ‘few’ million views over 5 years as “an undisputed ‘drop in the bucket’ in modern day view count statistics”. They also claimed that no reasonable person could have concluded that the song ‘Joyful Noise’ would be so well known that the they would have surely heard it and borrowed from it, when in fact, there are billions of other songs and videos available in this digital age. While concluding their appeal to overturn the judgement, the defendants believed the current judgement to be an erroneous verdict that could prove to be a bad precedent for such disputes arising in the future.
Vietnam Bans the Film ‘Abominable’
The release of the DreamWorks Animation film ‘Abominable’ has been banned in Vietnam, because of a scene in the film that shows a map depicting China’s contested territorial claims in the South China Sea. The map in the movie shows the “nine-dash line,” a U-shaped boundary unilaterally declared by Beijing that carves out resource-rich maritime regions for itself. Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia all make contesting and overlapping claims. In order to resolve this matter, an arbitration tribunal was set up under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which dismissed all the claims made by China regarding the Philippines in the South China Sea. China however, disagreed with this ruling and called it a “waste of paper”.
Prior to this ban several American entertainment firms like NBA, Disney including the gaming firm Activision Blizzard have been criticised by activists and politicians, for complying with Chinese censorship demands. The animated film is a Sino-US co-production between DreamWorks Animation and the Shanghai-based Pearl Studio. Vietnam’s deputy minister of culture, sports and tourism, Ta Quang Dong has also stated that he will revoke the film’s license. Recently American sports channel ESPN was also criticised for using a map that appeared to endorse China’s claims to both the self-governed island of Taiwan and the same disputed South China Sea regions. Incidentally, Disney owns 80% of ESPN.
Pearl Studio has not commented on this matter yet.
Ujda Chaman and Bala Lock Horns at the Box Office
The Ayushman Khurana film, ‘Bala’ and another film titled ‘Ujda Chaman’, have similar storylines, that revolve around the stigma associated with being bald. Makers of the film ‘Ujda Chaman’ have stated that their film which is an official Hindi remake of the 2017 Kannada film ‘Ondu Motteya Kathe’, was slated to be released on 8th November of this year. The director of the film’ Ujda Chaman’ had bought the rights to the original Kannada film back in 2018, with an intention to release it this year.
However, they have now been informed that the film ‘Bala’ will be released on 7th November this year, after having changed the release date twice. Bala, which will be released one day before ‘Ujda Chaman’, appears to worry the latter film’s director, since Bala with Ayushman Khurana in the lead could easily draw a greater audience. The makers of Ujda Chaman are considering taking legal action for copyright infringement against the filmmakers of ‘Bala’. They also claim that there are similarities between ‘Bala’ and the original film, wherein, the Kannada version shows a girl selling hair products to bald men and in ‘Bala’, Ayushman is selling products to dusky girls.
The spokesperson for the film ‘Bala’ has denied these claims and stated that, both these films having the same storyline is only beneficial for the audience as they would have more films to choose from and this could only be a good thing. Further, the team behind ‘Bala’ stated that they will continue to back the film even this requires taking the necessary legal recourse.
Sajid Khan Sends Notice for Not Getting Credit
As a result of being accused by several women in the MeToo movement that started last year, director Sajid Khan was asked to leave the movie Housefull 4, even after he had completed directing a major portion of the film. One of the producers, Sajid Nadiadwala and the lead actor, Akshay Kumar had mutually decided with Sajid Khan, that it would be in everyone’s best interest to have the director leave the film, amidst the MeToo allegations.
The issue arose after the trailer for the film Housefull 4 was recently released and there was no mention of Sajid Khan as the director. This is after Nadiadwala had given director Vikas Bahl credit for the film ‘Super 30’, despite allegations against him in the MeToo movement.
After being side-lined from his own project, Sajid Khan has sent a legal notice to the producer demanding that he should be given due credit, however this notice has been sent only to Fox Star and not to Nadiadwala & Grandson, who are also producers of the film. Fox Star is focused on the release of the film, and has currently not responded to this notice. Fox Star follows a strict policy for matters like MeToo allegations, and will continue to refrain from associating itself with Sajid Khan, unless his name is cleared by the revising committee.
Joker Leaked on Tamilrockers
Tamilrockers, the website which is synonymous with piracy, has recently leaked the much-awaited Hollywood film, Joker. This film stars Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead role and was released on 2nd October, 2019 in India. The film is now available to download freely through a link that has been posted by Tamilrockers. The film garnered critical acclaim and an ‘A(adult)’ rating in India. This leak could not only affect the film’s revenue, but also make the film accessible to unintended underage viewers.
The piracy site is now targeting and causing losses to films from all industries including the South Indian film industry, Bollywood and Hollywood. The film ‘War’, starring Hrithik Roshan, released on the same day as Joker and has also been leaked by Tamilrockers.
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar and Ashwini Arun (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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