Google and Youtube Lose Copyright Infringement Battle; Disney and Lucas film Sue Mouseprint Media LLC for Copyright Infringement; Bella Hadid Sued for Posting Infringing Pictures; Liam Hemsworth Sued for Copyright Infringement; Diego Maradona Cries Foul Against Dolce and Gabbana; Rebel Wilson Hit with Federal Law Suit for Infringement; Lawsuit Against Apple: Apple Music Streams without Proper License; Mighty Music Player Now Compatible with Amazon Music; The Holy Trifecta to Create an Open-Source Smart Home Standard and more.
Entertainment Law News
Google and Youtube Lose Copyright Infringement Battle
Suneel Darshan, proprietor of Shree Krishna International, a film production company, filed a permanent injunction suit against Google India and Youtube LLC in the Gurgaon District Court. The reputed film maker has produced many films including Andaaz, Barsaat, Dosti etc. The claim was that the streaming giant had infringed upon the sound recording, cinematograph films and audio visual songs without the Plaintiff’s prior authorisation and further stated that the ‘unauthorized downloader’ and the defendants were sharing the ad revenue generated from this, causing monetary loss to the Plaintiff.
Although it was argued on behalf of the defendants that they were merely providing a platform for the exhibition of his work, and that they were not aware that copyright was infringed, however, owing to the monetary loss suffered by the Plaintiff, the Court ruled in favour of the Plaintiff.
Disney and Lucas film Sue Mouseprint Media LLC for Copyright Infringement
Mouseprint LLC, also known as Disgear is alleged to have been selling merchandise copying Disney’s logos, designs and products. The lawsuit contains a plethora of examples beginning with the logo of the company itself. A prior trademark application filed by the Winter Garden Business was denied based on deceptive similarity. Disney cited multiple products on the site that can be compared to Disney affiliated merchandise such as pirate Mickey Mouse, Tinker Bell, Darth Vader etc. Disney had sent the company two cease and desist letters to no avail and were left with no option but to file a law suit for damages that have not been specified.
Bella Hadid Sued for Posting Infringing Pictures
Xposure, a company that maintains the business of licensing photographs to leading magazines, newspapers etc. is suing Bella Hadid for copyright infringement as she blatantly ripped off pictures and posted it on her Instagram account without the license or prior consent of the Company. The Company stands to face losses as no company would pay to have a license on a photograph that is readily available on social media. Xposure further claims that, as the famed model uses her Instagram page for promotion of her business, products, interests etc. her conduct is unlikely to be protected under the fair use provisions of the Act. Xposure is claiming damages to the tune of USD 150,000 per infringement, or the actual damages suffered by the Company.
Liam Hemsworth Sued for Copyright Infringement
Liam Hemsworth faces a copyright infringement suit filed by Splash News and Picture Agency over a photograph taken during the production of the film, ‘Isn’t it romantic’ which he posted to his Instagram account. The picture was originally taken by Janet Mayer during the shooting of an outdoor scene. Splash News and Picture Agency claim that the actor posted the picture, without Mayer’s permission or any mode of payment. The Plaintiff’s attorneys further go on to state that the use of the photograph was to encourage the actor’s followers to vote for him and the Movie at the Teens Choice Awards and that the act was wilful and malicious as part of a deliberate marketing gimmick.
Diego Maradona Cries Foul Against Dolce and Gabbana
The 2016 Fall Alta Moda collection in Naples by Dolce & Gabbana contained a model with a sky blue jersey, with a number ten on the back and the name Diego Maradona in silk and crystals. While initially, Maradona called the design a great sign of respect to Naples, he ultimately called foul through an Italian law suit under the Industry Property Code. The claim was that the brand was using his likeness for commercial purposes and was likely to confuse consumers as to his attachment with the brand when he did not endorse the product.
The suit was initially filed in 2016, with Maradona claiming damages worth USD 1 Million. The Court agreed with the reasoning of the Plaintiff, stating that the use of a distinctive name which signifies an attachment of the footballing icon to the brand without the permission of the former, was a violation of the Italian Industry Property Code. The Courts have prescribed damages of USD 70,000 to be paid to the Argentinian by one of the pioneers in modern fashion.
Rebel Wilson Hit with Federal Law Suit for Infringement
In another instance involving Xposure, the photo licensing business has filed a suit against ‘Isn’t it Romantic’ star Rebel Wilson for copyright infringement. The Australian Actress uploaded photos without the consent of the copyright owners. The photos in question were taken during an outdoor shoot for the film, Hustle, with Anne Hathaway also a part of the pictures. Xposure had sold the photographs to the Daily Mail in 2018 and in the immediate aftermath of the actress posting the picture, sent her a cease and desist later warning her to have it removed. It was further claimed that this form of piracy deprives the agency of licensing fees as well as devalues the syndication value of the work. The claim for damages is USD 150,000 accompanied with a permanent injunction against the actress from ever posting their work on social media again.
Lawsuit Against Apple: Apple Music Streams without Proper License
Pro Music Rights (PMR), a for profit performing rights organisation, with one sole member, founder Jake P Noch, has filed a lawsuit against Apple for unpaid royalties and copyright infringement related to 15 registered copyrights. PMR with around 7.4% of the market share, has rights to license over two millions songs. PMR claims that Apple has streamed and continues to stream a selection of copyrighted music without entering into an agreement with the copyright holder for public performance royalties.
A letter was sent to Apple notifying that the company must acquire public performance licenses. The Statutory Licensing Division of Music replied on the behalf of Apple stating their intent to acquire public licenses. Further attempts to try and strike a deal with Apple by PMR were rebuffed. There has been no mention of where the streaming service publicly performed this music. The claim for damages is USD 150,000 per each act of infringement and court fees.
Mighty Music Player Now Compatible with Amazon Music
The Mighty music player has now announced its compatibility with Amazon music, providing an avenue for users to add music to their offline library from Amazon Music. The device had initially launched with support for Spotify but has now expanded to include other music services. This new compatibility modification allows for users to stream music without a phone, a screen or an internet connection. Mighty was founded by former Dolby, Google and Samsung employees. The Mighty vibe offers enough storage space for 1000+ songs and offers up to five hours of continuous playback.
The Holy Trifecta to Create an Open-Source Smart Home Standard
Amazon, Apple and Google are teaming up to develop an open source smart home standard that will be compatible with all makes of devices from different companies. The project is meant to guarantee that that your Smart Home device will work regardless of the make and model of your smartphone or voice assistant. The smart home industry at large has provided support to this project. Technology from all three companies will contribute to this new standard. The details of whether this will simplify the connectivity process across platforms and whether it will standardize a wide range of smart home commands is still unclear. However, the customers do seem to be the beneficiaries, not having to worry about compatibility issues of the products during the purchase. Initially, the focus will be on devices to maintain security such as smoke alarms and door locks, followed by other commercial products to supplement this.
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar (Associate, BananaIP Counsels) and Shashank Venkat (Legal Intern)
The Entertainment Law and Licensing News Bulletin is brought to you jointly by the E-Commerce Law, 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: Licensing News.
Disclaimer: Please note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down.