Premier League weary of Illegal Streaming of Football Matches, Netflix Continues Battle Against Fox, Johnny Depp Wins Malpractice Suit and more

Premier League weary of Illegal Streaming of Football Matches; Photo Agency Sues Katy Perry for Infringing Picture; Copyright Infringement Suit Against Taylor Swift Returns; Netflix Continues Battle Against Fox; Johnny Depp Wins Malpractice Suit; Tamilrockers leak a Stream of Bollywood Films online; Sunny Leone accused of Plagiarism; FIR Filed Against Aaj Tak over Ayodhya Case and more.


Premier League weary of Illegal Streaming of Football Matches

In a recent study conducted by Online Betting Guide (OLBG), a sports betting website, it was found that a large number of UK football fans access unofficial internet streams to watch football matches. This is despite the fact that there is widespread awareness among football fans regarding illegal streaming, yet there are around 5 million fans throughout UK, who continue to access such websites on a regular basis.
“The research highlights that football fans in London are the worst culprits, as 58% of men in the capital admit to using illegal streams. A staggering 40% of football fans residing in London have also skipped work to watch football. A whopping 68% admit to using somebody else’s login on a device to watch a match, with almost one in 10 (8.8%) doing so on a regular basis.” A spokesperson for the EPL, addressed the fans of the League and stated that, illegal streaming of matches threatens the integrity of the game. Further, the success of the EPL competition depends on the audio-visual rights of the investment that ensure a high standard for the League and the fans.
Such illegal streaming can have a negative impact on the English Premier League (EPL) and can subsequently threaten to infringe upon their intellectual property. The only way to curb this is to increase awareness among the football fans and to implement strict regulations for any kind of illegal streaming.

Photo Agency Sues Katy Perry for Infringing Picture

Backgrid, a photo agency, has recently sued Katy Perry for distributing a picture of her taken on Halloween in 2016. The Agency claims that Perry or someone acting on behalf of her, has illegally copied the picture, which shows her dressed as Hillary Clinton for Halloween. Perry later uploaded the picture on Instagram, following which Backgrid has sued the singer for damages worth USD 150,000, for failing to acquire the appropriate licenses from the agency.
The Agency has also stated that, they had contacted the singer’s representatives regarding the infringing picture, but did not receive any response or the damages claimed by them. This is however, not the first time a celebrity has been sued by a photo agency for infringing their own picture, as celebrities like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Gigi Hadid, have also been recently accused of copyright infringement.

Copyright Infringement Suit Against Taylor Swift Returns

A year ago, the copyright infringement suit against Taylor Swift, which had been dismissed by the Court, has now returned on an appeal. Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who are writers of the 2001 song, titled ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ by the R&B girl group 3LW, claim that Taylor Swift infringed upon their lyrics, in her song ‘Shake it off’. The song by 3LW has the line “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate,” and Shake it Off has the a similar which goes, “’Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” However, the similarities in both the songs are restricted only to this one line and beyond that the songs are very different.
While ruling on the original suit, the District Court held that the allegedly infringed lyrics “lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection” and called the entire concept of the lyrics ‘banal’. Further, the Court also held that it will be extremely difficult for the Plaintiffs to prove copyright infringement under the US copyright law provisions.
However, the Appeals Court reversed the District Court’s ruling and stated that as per its previous decision the District Court considered “itself as the final judge of the worth of an expressive work. Because the absence of originality is not established either on the face of the complaint or through the judicially noticed matters,…….”. Once again, the matter will be soon heard in Court.

Netflix Continues Battle Against Fox

The dispute between Netflix and Fox is currently at the stage of a summary judgement. This dispute arose with regard to the terms of Fox’s employment contract, after Netflix had hired one of Fox’s executives. Following this, the streaming platform asked the Court to declare Fox’s employment contracts as void, on the grounds of it being illegal.
Netflix elaborated on its claim and stated that as per the terms of Fox’s employment agreement, employees are forced to continue working even if they want to leave and are prohibited from working elsewhere if they leave Fox before the end of their contract term. This essentially violates violation of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court initially sided with Fox, while deciding the where the balance lies between contractual obligations and complete economic freedom.
Fox defended its contract, by stating that locking in employees for a fixed period of time ensures them both professional and financial certainty. Netflix in its counter argument stated that Fox’s contracts contained terms that were actually non-compete in nature thereby violating California’s seven year rule according to which employment/ personal service contracts may only be enforced for seven years. Presently, the Court has set a date in November to hear further arguments and allow Netflix to amend its pleadings, before the trial which is scheduled for late January.

Johnny Depp Wins Malpractice Suit

Actor Johnny Depp won a malpractice lawsuit against his former lawyer after the lawsuit was settled, earning the actor an eight figure sum. The actor filed the lawsuit on the grounds of “fraud, conflict of interest, disgorgement of over $30 million in voidable fees and other malfeasance that they engaged in over nearly two decades.”
The settlement of this lawsuit however, does not end the actor’s legal woes. He still has two pending lawsuits to fight, one that was filed against him by a movie locations manager for an alleged assault and another defamation suit that the actor filed against Amber Heard.


Tamilrockers leak a Stream of Bollywood Films online

Housefull 4, Saand Ki Aankh and Made in China are the latest films to be leaked online, by Tamilrockers, the piracy site. All the three film were released on the Diwali weekend, with Housefull 4 earning the maximum revenue of Rupees 50 crore at the box office, amid a huge amount of criticism from several film critics.
While Saand Ki Aankh opened to mixed reviews, Made in China had below average reviews. Tamilrockers is now known for releasing pirated versions of films online, just hours after the film is released in theatres. However, it remains to be seen the extent to which the online leak of the film will affect the revenue of each film.

Sunny Leone accused of Plagiarism

Actor Sunny Leone has been accused of plagiarism by an artist named Mallika Favre, for copying her painting and selling the copies version at an auction. Both Favre and Diet Sabya, which is a social media platform that monitors plagiarism in Bollywood, have called out the actor for implying that the painting was her own and then proceeding to donate it for an auction at a charity for cancer patients.
Sunny Leone, however defended herself by stating that she was gifted a picture of the original art piece, which she then copied and painted herself and she never claimed to be the original creator of the painting. After the accusation, the authenticity of the painting is being looked into and if it found to be fraudulent, it may not be a part of the charity auction.

FIR Filed Against Aaj Tak over Ayodhya Case

The hindi news channel Aaj Tak, has been accused of inciting communal hatred while reporting the Ayodhya case. The head line used by the news channel was “Janambhoomi hamari, Ram humare, namaz wale kaha se padhare”, which when translated meant “The birthplace is ours, Ram is ours, where did the Mosque-waalahs come from?”.  Soon after the news was broadcasted an activist filed a First Information Report (FIR) with the Uttar Pradesh police, additionally a lot of Twitter users also condemned this news article.
The activist who filed the FIR, demanded “Aaj Tak to issue a formal apology and asked it to delete the tweet of the headline. He warned them of legal consequences if his demand was not heeded to.” Inspite of a legal threat Aaj Tak did not delete the tweet, due to which the activist eventually sent the news channel a legal notice, while stating that by Aaj Tak’s actions are in contempt of court as it seems to be prejudiced against one of the sides in the dispute.
Further, specifically with regard to the Ayodhya dispute, even the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) had prohibited all television channels broadcasting the Supreme Court hearing on the Ayodhya matter, from showing any archival footage of the demolition of the Babri Masjid and ‘exercise caution’ while reporting on the issue. This was done to avoid any speculation in relation to the Ayodhya decision, which could otherwise lead to a biased judgement.
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.
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.

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