Spinal Tap Creators and Vivendi Settle Legal Dispute; Openload and Streamango Shut Down Due to Piracy; UK High Court Holds TuneIn Liable for Unauthorised Rebroadcasting; Maserati Pulls Out of Taiwan Film Awards; US Copyright Office Releases New Informative Videos on YouTube; ‘Rustom’ Writer Sued for Allegedly Hurting Catholic Sentiments; Fresh Legal Hassles for Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘Bala’; Bollywood Producer Sues Team Behind ‘Mere Dad ki Dulhan’ TV Show; Biopic on Late Politician Jayalalitha Receives Court Notice; and more.
International Copyright and Entertainment Law News
‘Spinal Tap’ Creators Settle Legal Dispute with Vivendi
The creators of rock music mock documentary ‘This is Spinal Tap’, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner, have confirmed that they have resolved a dispute with Universal Music Group’s parent company, Vivendi, over the film’s soundtrack. As per the terms of the agreement, the film’s soundtrack will continue to be distributed by Vivendi through UMG as it has been for the last thirty years and subsequently, the rights will vest in the original creators. Decades after the film released, hundreds of thousands of copies of the sound recordings have been sold, the royalty for which was not paid to the creators in full. The four creators of ‘Spinal Tap’ had filed a lawsuit worth USD 400 million against Vivendi back in 2016 alleging unfair competition, breach of contract and fraud. Licensed rights, including merchandising, have been restored by this settlement.
Openload and Streamango Shut Down Due to Piracy
Several government organizations and Hollywood studios have been struggling to bring down piracy in the movie industry. While many piracy sites continue to thrive, two of the most recent ones to be shut down are Openload and Streamango. Both these sites obtained content illegally and distributed it to over 1,000 servers in Europe. Openload made the headlines when the final episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ was released by it in Germany, hours before it became available on Amazon Prime. Both these sites were forced to stop their operations as a result of agreements being signed with a coalition of major Hollywood studios and content providers.
UK High Court Holds TuneIn Liable for Unauthorised Rebroadcasting
In a copyright infringement suit filed by Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group against the online-radio firm, TuneIn, the UK High Court has held TuneIn liable for making available live streams of radio broadcasts containing songs. The music companies argued that TuneIn should acquire licenses for commercially redistributing their songs. The Court ruled in favour of the music companies and prohibited TuneIn from rebroadcasting music from anywhere beyond the territories of the UK. TuneIn, however, has brushed off the ruling, claiming that the company’s growth or revenues are unlikely to be affected as it is still allowed to broadcast UK-based radio stations. The full judgement can be read here.
Maserati Pulls Out of Taiwan Film Awards
Luxury Italian sports car company Maserati has reportedly cut its sponsorship ties with the Taiwan Film Awards. The globally renowned brand seems to have bowed to Chinese pressure as it has clarified on its page on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, that it respects China’s territorial integrity and its culture. Taiwan has been a de-facto self-ruled territory for the last 70 years, which China believes to be within its territories and is prepared to take by force. Other international brands like Dior have previously apologized to Beijing for favouring Taiwan, a much smaller market as compared to the mainland.
US Copyright Office Releases New Informative Videos on YouTube
The US Copyright Office has recently released a new informative video series on its YouTube channel as well as its website. The videos will take the viewers through understanding the fundamentals of copyright law, including copyright on the internet, public domain, and protection of copyrighted works. The Copyright Office has confirmed that it will add more videos in the future, and has encouraged users to subscribe to its channel on YouTube.
Indian Copyright and Entertainment News
‘Rustom’ Writer Sued for Allegedly Hurting Catholic Sentiments
Vipul K Rawal, known for writing the script of the Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Rustom’, was served a legal notice for allegedly hurting Catholic sentiments in his directorial debut, ‘Tony’. The film’s poster shows a chopped hand nailed to the Holy Cross, which is sacred to the Christians. Rawal, however, has refused to change the poster saying that his film is based on a catholic serial killer and the poster is appropriate for the concept. The film is about a group of college students who plant a camera in a church confession box and happen to record the confession of a serial killer which changes their lives. It is scheduled for release on November 29th.
Fresh Legal Hassles for Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘Bala’
After being sued by the makers of another Bollywood film, ‘Ujda Chaman’, for portraying the story of a bald man, producers of the Ayushmann Khurrana starrer, ‘Bala’, have been sued by a budding director for copyright infringement. Director Kamal Kant Chandra has filed a lawsuit claiming that the film is based on his own life story, which he had planned to turn into a biopic in the future. He even confirmed that he had approached Ayushmann for playing the role, but the actor refused. He has approached the Supreme Court, which has directed the Bombay High Court to resolve the matter before Bala’s release on November 8.
Bollywood Producer Sues Team Behind ‘Mere Dad ki Dulhan’ TV Show
Bollywood actress and Punjabi film producer, Preeti Sapru has sued the makers of the upcoming TV show, ‘Mere Dad ki Dulhan’, for replicating the concept of her Punjabi film, ‘Teri Meri Gal Ban Gayi’. Her film, which is slated to release next year, revolves around a daughter arranging for her father’s re-marriage. The actress has claimed that her team had registered the script with the IMPPA (Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association) and The Screenwriters Association (SWA) in 2017. The makers of the TV show, however, have taken the defense that they are in no way associated with Preeti and created the concept themselves. Also, they highlighted that copyright subsists the moment the work is created and not after it is registered.
Biopic on Late Politician Jayalalitha Receives Court Notice
Director Gowtham Vasudev Menon, who is making a biopic on the life of late politician Jayalalitha, has received a notice after the late politician’s niece, Deepa Jayakumar, approached the Madras High Court. Deepa, who is the legal heir to the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu, claimed that the filmmakers did not take her consent before making the film. thus infringing on the family’s privacy. Also, she claims to be apprehensive about whether the film would portray her aunt and their family in a negative light. The biopic, titled ‘Thalaivi’ in Tamil and ‘Jaya’ in Hindi, stars Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut as Jayalalitha, and is slated to release to release next year.
Authored and compiled by Anusmita Mazumder and Ashwini Arun (Associates, BananaIP Counsels)
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