Weekly Copyright News: 30 Torrent Sites Blocked, Notices to Makers of Tashkent Files and Dabangg 3, Avengers Playmoji, and more
Delhi High Court Restrains 30 Torrent Sites from Uploading Copyright Content; ‘Tashkent Files’ Maker Gets Legal Notice; Archaeological Society Sends Notice to Dabangg 3 Makers; Tweet Reporting DMCA Takedown Mishandling Gets Take Down Notice, Starz Apologises ; US Court: Wilful Action Required for Copyright Violation; Amazon to Launch Ad-Supported Music Streaming Service to Rival Spotify; Google Collaborates with Marvel Studios to Bring Avengers Endgame Playmoji on Pixel 3; CD Baby Partners with Audible Magic to Spot Copyright Infringement, and more.
I think that the use of copyright is going to change dramatically. Part of it is economics. There is just going to be so much content out there – there’s a scarcity of attention. Information consumes attention, and there’s too much information.
– Esther Dyson
Delhi High Court Restrains 30 Torrent Sites from Uploading Copyright Content
Based on a plea filed by renowned production companies, Twentieth Century Fox and UTV Software, the Delhi High Court has permanently restrained 30 torrent sites from hosting, streaming, distributing or making available any content which violates their copyright. Fox and UTV had filed a suit for banning the torrent websites such as RARBG, YTS, ExtraTorrent, Pirate Bay and others from streaming pirated versions of their original copyright content. The court has also directed internet service providers (ISPs), like Airtel, Reliance Jio and MTNL, to block access to these websites.
The court issued directions to the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy) to ensure that the ISPs registered with them block access to such “rogue websites”. The Court observed that majority of the viewers who access and download such content are youngsters who are unaware that the content is pirated. With this in mind, the court has directed DOT and MEITY to create a policy cautioning the viewers about the nature of the content before the content is viewed or downloaded. The court suggested that in the event the viewer continues to access content after the warning, then a fine may be levied.
This decision is also important because of the court’s directions with respect to websites which mirror the content of the blocked websites or act as means to access the content of these blocked websites. The court has allowed copyright holders to obtain an order to block these websites from the Joint Registrar instead of having to schedule a separate hearing before a judge, which is expected to make it easier to have such sites blocked immediately when they appear.
‘Tashkent Files’ Maker Gets Legal Notice
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri has been served a legal notice by the grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri ahead of the release of his film ‘The Tashkent Files’. The film revolves around the mysterious death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966, soon after the signing of the Tashkent Agreement between India and Pakistan to end their 1965 war. The notice reportedly demands that the release of the film be halted as it may hurt the emotions and sentiments of a large section of society.
Archaeological Society Sends Notice to Dabangg 3 Makers
The Archaeological Society of India (ASI) has sent a legal notice to the makers of the Salman Khan starrer Dabangg 3. The filmmakers have been reportedly asked to remove two set pieces used in the film of Jal Mahal in Mandu, as it violates the statute governing ancient monuments and historical sites. The notice states that a failure to comply with the directions in the notice may lead to a cancellation of the permission for filming in these locations.
Tweet Reporting DMCA Takedown Mishandling Gets Take Down Notice, Starz Apologises
Earlier this week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had tweeted a link to a TorrentFreak article that revealed a number of TV shows which were leaked before release. This tweet was soon met with a Twitter takedown request by Starz, which had produced one of the leaked shows. The TorrentFreak article did not mention the name of the pirate sites and only attached three screenshots from the leaked shows. Starz claims that the article used “images of the unreleased episodes” and “information about their illegal availability.” Despite the article being in compliance with fair use rules, the tweet linking the article was objected by Starz and was subsequently notified with a takedown request. Starz later revoked the takedown and issued an apology to EFF as well as other Twitter users who had shared the article. Following the withdrawal of the notice by Starz, Twitter appears to have reinstated a few of the tweets.
US Court: Wilful Action Required for Copyright Violation
A US Appellate Court has confirmed that online companies and service providers are required to have committed a “wilful action” in order to be held liable for copyright infringement. The suit involved a claim by BWP media, alleging that the website Polyvore, which allowed users to share pictures, was liable for copyright infringement. This decision partly revives the suit, which had earlier been dismissed, and remands it to the lower court for further proceedings.
Licensing and Merchandising News
Amazon to Launch Ad-Supported Music Streaming Service to Rival Spotify
Amazon is all geared up to launch its ad-supported music streaming service by the end of this week. The free music will be marketed through the Amazon Echo smart speakers. The service will feature a limited catalogue for subscribers. Amazon has curated a model where it will be paying labels per stream in order to clear the licensing to offer free music via an ad-supported model. Amazon Music can be availed through an Amazon Prime subscription. This move is likely targeted at Spotify’s ad-supported streaming service, which will soon face some tough competition from the online retail giant.
Google Collaborates with Marvel Studios to Bring Avengers Endgame Playmoji on Pixel 3
Ahead of the most anticipated movie release of the year, Google has entered a partnership with Marvel Studios to showcase an exclusive Playmoji pack on Pixel 3. Curated by Google’s ARCore team, Pixel 3 users will be able to manifest five new Playmoji character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe which includes Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Thor, Rocket and War Machine. The characters can be added to different scenes when creating a picture or video from Pixel 3 and the augmented reality elements will the optimized by ARCore. The characters are available under the playground tab in the Pixel Camera.
This collaboration will offer fans an opportunity to bring their favourite Avengers characters to life and create more buzz ahead of the movie’s release.
CD Baby Partners with Audible Magic to Spot Copyright Infringement
Independent record label CD Baby has partnered with content identification provider Audible Magic to identify content conflicts prior to delivering content to Spotify, Apple Music and other digital service providers. CD Baby is currently a “preferred partner” to deliver music to both Spotify and Apple, and has said that the partnership will help to ensure its trusted status among music services and artists. The RightsRx technology from Audible Magic will check each file across a registry of over 30 million audio tracks, and will decline the upload of any new files in case of a conflict. This will allow CD Baby to proactively prevent the uploading of infringing content, instead of reactively taking down infringing content later, and thus provide more effective protection against copyright violations.
Author: BIP’s Copyright and Entertainment Law Attorneys
Led by Sanjeeth Hegde, Senior Partner, the entertainment law attorneys at BIP are among the well-known lawyers in the field. They work with clients such as Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, Ananda Audio, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh, and Arka Media (Producer of Bahu Bali). BIP’s entertainment law team helps clients protect, manage and effectively license and merchandise their creative works such as films, music, brands and other content, to maximize financial returns.
The weekly copyright and entertainment law news initiative is a part of their pro bono work, and is aimed at spreading entertainment law awareness. You are free to share the news with appropriate attribution and backlink to the source.
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