Saaho Plagiarism, Forever21 Sued for Ariana Grande Look-alike, BBC Pays for Privacy Violations, and more


There is a decrease of 12% in the total number of copyright applications filed for the month of August as compared to the month of July. A total of 1664 applications were filed in the month of August, 2019. The majority of applications were filed for literary works and artistic works.

Sl. No Type of Work Number of Application Filed in the Month of July 2019 Number of Application Filed in the Month of August 2019 Change Percentage Change
1 Literary/ Dramatic Work 1099 1024 75 Decrease of 6%
2 Artistic Work 498 511 13 Increase of 2%
3 Cinematograph Work 17 9 8 Decrease of 47%
4 Sound Recording 154 0 154 Decrease of 100%
5 Software 125 120 5 Decrease of 4%
  Total 1893 1664 229 Decrease of 12%

Weekly Entertainment Law Updates, by BananaIP Counsels: Director and Artist Accuse Saaho Makers of Plagiarism, TamilRockers Leaks Saaho Immediately after Release, CBFC Releases New Logo and Certificate Design, Ariana Grande Sues Forever21 for Using “Look-alike” Model, Photographer Sues Virgil Abloh for Infringement, Co-producer Sues Roy Lee over Fees and Credits, Record Labels Sue RCN Telecom Services for Enabling Piracy, BBC Settles with Cliff Richards for 2 Million Pounds, Blizzard’s Suit Against Sina for Copying Warcraft Gets Game Removed, and more.

National News

Director and Artist Accuse Saaho Makers of Plagiarism
French director Jerome Salle has accused the filmmakers behind the highly anticipated action thriller Saaho, of copying the plot of his film Largo Winch without his permission. Many users on social media platforms also pointed out similarities between the two films, leading Salle to term the infringement a “free-make”. He had also levied similar accusations against another Telugu filmmaker for copying Largo Winch last year.
Bengaluru-based artist Shilo Shiv Suleman has also accused the Saaho team of plagiarism, for allegedly featuring her art installation in its posters for the film. Shilo pointed out the similarities in Saaho’s poster and her art installation which she had staged at the Burning Man music festival in 2014.
Actress Lisa Ray supported the artist’s allegations with her own post comparing both the pictures, and added that it was necessary to stand up against big budget filmmakers committing blatant theft.
These allegations have drawn attention towards the extent to which film plots and artwork may consider to be inspired by another work, and when it would be considered copyright infringement.
The team behind is yet to respond to either allegation.
TamilRockers Leaks Saaho Immediately after Release
Within a few hours of its release, the, staring Prabhas and Shradha Kapoor, was available for free download on TamilRockers. Shradha Kapoor had preceding to this act of piracy taken to her Instagram sharing with her fans the UV Creations’s anti-piracy and no spoiler poster while also warning them against piracy and giving out spoilers.
Saaho, like many other movies including Batla House, an action thriller directed by Nikhil Advani staring John Abraham, has now joined the long list of movies that have fallen prey to piracy.
CBFC Releases New Logo and Certificate Design
On 30th August 2019, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, unveiled the Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) new logo and certificate. This design was conceptualized by Chairman of CBDF, Parsoon Joshi and designed by Rohit Devgun with technical support from NSDL.
The new certification will contain QR codes, aimed at bringing in transparency by providing more information to filmmakers. Celebrities attending the launch believe the change to be a functional and positive step.
The CBFC also hosted an event inviting suggestions from stakeholders about the certification of online content, with the intention to amend the Cinematograph Act to curb piracy.

International News

Ariana Grande Sues Forever21 for Using “Look-alike” Model
American Singer-songwriter Ariana Grande has filed a suit against fast fashion company Forever21 claiming USD 10 million in damages. Grande has alleged that Forever21 infringed her right to publicity by featuring a model that resembled her in its branding campaign. The Forever21 campaign includes an Instagram post with a line from her hit song “7 Rings” as a caption, posters with a model that resembles Grande, and outfits from two of her popular songs.
Grande claims that the use of her likeness, lyrics and outfits suggested her affiliation with the fashion retailer, thereby also making the retailer liable for false endorsement, trademark infringement and copyright infringement. Forever21 had previously in 2018 attempted to partner with Ariana but she had declined.
Forever21 has disputed the allegations but has refused to comment on the pending litigation.
Photographer Sues Virgil Abloh for Infringement
Photographer Jawad Elatab has filed a copyright infringement suit against American fashion designer Virgil Abloh and his company Yellow Canary LLC in a New York Court.  Elatab claims that Abloh posted a picture of model Bella Hadid on Instagram, in which Elatab owns the copyright. The picture was posted by Abloh to promote a custom Bella Off-White x Rimowa suitcase.
Elatab claims that Abloh’s failure to obtain a license for the photograph amounts to the willful, intentional and purposeful infringement of his exclusive right to reproduce and publicly display the picture. Elatab has sought damages including all profits Abloh may have earned from the infringement, or statutory damages of up to USD 150,000 and attorney’s fees.
Abloh’s counsel has refused to comment on the pending litigation.
Co-producer Sues Roy Lee over Fees and Credits
“It” producer Roy Lee is being sued by co-producer John Powers Middleton in a California Court, for breach of contract, fraud, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
Middleton claims that the two producers had agreed that Middleton would get a 20 percent cut of fees and executive producer credits if he paid half of the overhead expenses. The deal covered over three dozen projects between 2010 and 2016. The negotiations for this deal failed last year when Lee demanded USD 1 million in overhead charges and threatened to remove Middleton from past projects. Middleton cut ties with Lee in 2018 when his name was removed from the credits for Minecraft the First Movie, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and The Stand, and denied his share of the fees.
Lee has not yet responded to the suit.
Record Labels Sue RCN Telecom Services for Enabling Piracy
Major record labels including Capitol Records, Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner have filed a complaint against several branches of RCN Telecom Services at a US Court for copyright infringement. The labels claim that RCN knowingly enabled customers to pirate sound recordings online using BitTorrent networks, and derived commercial benefit from the infringement.
The suit alleges that RCN refused to terminate the accounts of known infringers to continue receiving subscription fees, and that RCN raised fees despite being aware that its high-speed internet services were popular with infringers.
The record labels are seeking injunctive relief against RCN to prevent further infringement, along with statutory damages.
BBC Settles with Cliff Richards for 2 Million Pounds
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has agreed to a final settlement of 2 million pounds with Sir Cliff Richards. The singer had sued the public broadcasting service for infringement of his privacy, due to its “intrusive” coverage of a police raid at his house in 2014. The officers were investigating allegations by a man who claimed that Richards sexually assaulted him, though the case was dropped two years later with no arrests.
The judge had recognized the broadcaster’s right to freedom of speech and to publish coverage of the raid, but deemed it subordinate to Richards’ right to privacy as a suspect in the investigation.  Richards has joined other public figures asking for the law to protect the anonymity of suspected sexual offenders until they are actually charged with crime. BBC has apologized to Richards, but maintains that such a ruling on privacy could hinder press freedom.
Blizzard’s Suit Against Sina for Copying Warcraft Gets Game Removed
American video game developer Blizzard Entertainment has filed a suit for copyright infringement against Chinese company Sina Games in a California Court. Blizzard has alleged that Sina copied Blizzard’s renowned “World of Warcraft” series almost entirely in its “Glorious Saga” game. Besides similarities in the video game art, interface and game icon, Blizzard has also pointed out similarities in various characters, audio cues, sound effects, weapons and other elements. Blizzard is seeking a court order to stop infringement and maximum damages amounting to USD 150,000 per infringed work, along with attorney’s fees.
Following the filing of the suit, Sina has posted an update on the Glorious Saga Facebook page, stating that the game will not be available anymore. The posts did not mention the suit, and also remained available on the Google Play Store, but could not be played.
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.
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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