This week’s copyright, media, and entertainment law updates are as below:
Japan’s Supreme Court Exempts Music Students from Copyright Fees
In an appeal from the Intellectual Property High Court, the Supreme Court rejected the plea by Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers (JASRAC) affirming the lower court’s judgment. The First Petty Bench of the Supreme Court, presided by Justice Takuya Miyama, upholding Intellectual Property High Court’s judgement, declared that the student’s use of copyrighted works in music school is to acquire and enhance the skills under the instruction of teachers, which includes performance. Such performance cannot be made subject to the purview of copyright fees or royalties. However, the teachers and school operators were not exempt from the royalties due to JASRAC for the use of copyright songs. The judgment comes in the light of the petition filed by 240 music school operators (the Plaintiff), to protect performance of music by teachers and students in lesson as an exemption to copyright royalties.
Kantara Movie Accused of Plagiarising Thaikkudam Bridge’s Original Composition
Thaikkudam Bridge, a Kerala-based band has accused Hombale Films and the team involved in the making of ‘Kantara’- a Kannada film for plagiarising their song. The band, alleging that the song ‘Varaha Roopan’ has been plagiarised from the band’s original composition ‘Navarasam’, contends that the melody in the film’s song ‘follows the same chord progression’ as their original composition. The band is contemplating taking legal action against Hombale Films and the team. In a statement released by the band on social media, the band members wrote “…we would like our listeners to know that Thaikkudam Bridge is in no way or form affiliated with ‘Kantara’. The unavoidable similarities between our IP ‘Navarasam’ and ‘Varaha Roopam’ in terms of audio is therefore a blatant infringement of copyright laws… the line between ‘Inspired’ and ‘Plagiarized is distinct and indisputable and therefore we will be seeking legal action against the creative team responsible for this. There has been no acknowledgement of our rights over the content and the song is propagated as an Original piece of work by the movie’s creative team.”
Miley Cyrus Settles Copyright Dispute with Photographer Robert Barbera over an Instagram Post
Robert Barbara, a photographer who clicked Miley Cyrus exiting a building waving to a crowd, sued her in September, alleging that she infringed his copyright on the photograph by posting it on her Instagram. He alleged that, due to Miley’s “immense presence” on Instagram with millions of followers, his ability to license and monetise the photograph has been “crippled if not destroyed”, affecting his right to exploit his intellectual property. The matter has been settled out of court and the case has been dismissed with prejudice. Barbera has previously filed and settled infringement suits of similar nature with other celebrities.
Authored by Ipshita Bhattacharyya (Associate, BananaIP Counsels)
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