Weekly Copyright News: Cinematograph Act Amendment, Facebook to Make Political Ads Transparent, No Removal of Explicit Streaming Content, EU Agrees on Copyrights, Fiji Counter-sues, and more
Cabinet Approves Cinematograph Amendment to Curb Piracy, Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Removal of Explicit Streaming Content, Facebook to Increase Transparency of Political Ads, Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of ‘Extortion and Blackmail’, EU Negotiates Agreement on Copyright Rules, ‘GTA V’ Cheats Cost Creator USD 150,000 in Damages, Fiji Water Counter-sues Viral Fiji Water Girl, PV Sindhu Signs Lucrative 50 Crore Deal with Chinese Sports Brand, McFarlane Toys Inks Deal for DC Superhero Toys, Kiss and Emoji Collaborate, BMG to License Music through SESAC in India, Copyright Tip of the Week, and more.
When you have wit of your own, it’s a pleasure to credit other people for theirs.
– Criss Jami
There is an increase of 15% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 507 applications were filed during the last week. The majority of applications were filed for literary works and artistic works.
|S. No||Type of Work||Number of Applications filed in the Previous Week|
(28th January, 2019 to 03rd February, 2019)
|Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week|
(04th February, 2019 to 10th February, 2019)
|1.||Literary Work||194||297||103||Increase of 53%|
|2.||Musical Work||8||9||1||Increase of 13%|
|3.||Artistic Work||185||138||47||Decrease of 25%|
|4.||Cinematograph Film||9||25||16||Increase of 178%|
|5.||Sound Recording||9||7||2||Decrease of 22%|
|6.||Software||34||31||3||Decrease of 9%|
|Total||439||507||68||Increase of 15%|
Cabinet Approves Cinematograph Amendment to Curb Piracy
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposed amendments to the Cinematograph Act that will now allow the law to effectively tackle copyright infringement in film. The most prevalent form of piracy, the release of pirated versions of films on the internet, has been causing huge losses to the film industry as well as the exchequer. The proposed changes will now impose strict penalties, which may include, up to three years of imprisonment and fines that amount to 10 lakhs or both. The amendment imposes a penalty on the unauthorised recording of films and the sharing of such copies.
Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Removal of Explicit Streaming Content
The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea filed by the non-profit organisation Justice for Rights Foundation, seeking the removal of vulgar and sexually explicit content from online platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others. The plea also sought the licensing, regulation and certification of the content available on these platforms. The court had earlier asked the Centre to seek instructions from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as to whether broadcasting any content on Netflix or Amazon Prime would require any license. Pursuant to this, the Centre responded that these streaming services are not required to obtain any licenses and also that the online content is not being regulated by either the Ministry for Law and Justice or the Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology.
Despite the absence of government regulations, nine OTT platforms — Netflix, Hotstar, Reliance Jio, Voot, ALTBalaji, Zee5, Eros Now and SonyLIV — signed a self-regulatory Code of Best Practices. This code, which was signed in January 2018 and has been in effect for over a year, establishes guidelines and prohibits certain types of content.
Facebook to Increase Transparency of Political Ads
Advertisements on social networking site Facebook related to political personalities, political parties and elections will now include disclaimers about who published and paid for the ad. Facebook, in its statement, said that the new Political Ad Policy is being implemented to increase user awareness of who has paid for political advertisements. The company is also seeking to create a new standard for transparency and authenticity with regards to political advertising on its platforms – Facebook and Instagram. Facebook will soon be opening an ad repository that will include additional information on the content of the ad, the start and end date of a campaign, performance data, demographics and viewership of these ads. Starting February 21st, only advertisers who have completed their authorization and disclosed the source of payments will be able to run political ads in India.
The new rules also require the administrators of Pages with a large audience to enable two-factor authentication and confirm their primary location to continue posting on these pages. These changes are being implemented in response to the government’s warning that stringent action would be taken in case of any attempt to sway the country’s electoral process.
Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of ‘Extortion and Blackmail’
In a tell-all post published last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has detailed ‘extortionate proposals’ sent to him by top executives at the National Enquirer. Bezos claims that the media company threatened to publish intimate pictures of him – which includes a scantily clad ‘body shot’ and a ‘below-the belt selfie’ – unless he let go of the ongoing investigation against the company. This follows the National Enquirer’s publication of details of the CEO’s extramarital affair with TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, which led to him initiating an investigation over how the Enquirer obtained his personal text messages.
Media and criminal law attorneys have been trying to conclusively establish if these emails are bordering on the line of illegality. Regardless of the outcome, there has been a consensus between experts and the general public alike that the Enquirer has crossed a certain realm with such a proposal.
EU Negotiates Agreement on Copyright Rules
Following months of negotiations, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission announced that they had reached a political agreement to amend the copyright rules governing the EU countries. The agreement needs to be confirmed by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU in the coming weeks to take effect. The new Directive reinforces the position of European authors and performers in the digital environment and enhances high-quality journalism in the EU. The rules will also benefit users to legally upload copyright protected content on platforms like YouTube or Instagram, and use copyrighted materials for teaching and research purposes.
‘GTA V’ Cheats Cost Creator USD 150,000 in Damages
The creator of a GTA Online tool that enabled players to cheat in the game, has been ordered to pay USD 150,000 in damages and over USD 66,869 in attorney’s fees.
The creator of Ellusive, Jhonny Perez, had formulated this tool to allow players to generate unlimited amounts of in-game cash. The players who wished to advance in the game would pay up to $30 to obtain the cheat code from Perez. GTA Online relies on the in-game purchases made by players to fuel profits and also to maintain the game’s balance. By curating and selling these cheat codes, Perez had disrupted the game’s economy. The publisher of GTA, Take-Two Interactive Software, filed a copyright infringement suit against Ellusive, to which Perez responded but did not furnish the financial details of his profits, leading to the judgement against him.
Fiji Water Counter-sues Viral Fiji Water Girl
Adding a new twist in the ongoing events surrounding the Fiji Water suit, the company has now filed a countersuit against the viral Fiji Water Girl for alleged extortion. The countersuit claims that the model, Kelly Steinbach (aka Kelly Cuthbert), not only refused to honour their initial agreement but also ‘attempted to extort close to a half million dollars from Fiji because she wanted a better deal’.
Cuthbert became an internet sensation earlier this year for strategically photobombing many celebrity red-carpet photos at the Golden Globes Awards 2019 while holding a tray of Fiji Water bottles. The company claims that the model had signed off on their agreement to use her ‘name, likeness and performance’ for marketing purposes and also to serve as a ‘Fiji Water Brand Ambassador’ for a year.
Fiji Water claims that they only had an initial agreement over email before they could arrange for a formal written contract. The company provided examples of Cuthbert’s agreement via email using emojis and informal text slang. It also alleged that, after the videotaped ‘signing event’, she took off with the only signed copy and later destroyed it. Cuthbert’s attorney addressed these developments with allegations that the new complaint was an obvious publicity stunt to negate revelations of Fiji Water’s unlawful action.
Licensing and Merchandising News
PV Sindhu Signs Lucrative 50 Crore Deal with Chinese Sports Brand
Olympic silver-medallist and celebrated badminton player PV Sindhu has signed a remarkable four-year sponsorship deal worth up to INR 50 Crores with the Chinese sports brand Li Ning. Sindhu’s deal is one of the biggest in the world of badminton. The original agreement states that she will earn INR 40 Crores for the sponsorship deal and the remaining 10 Crores will be for equipment.
PV Sindhu rose to prominence at the Rio Olympics for being the first Indian woman to earn a silver medal. She has also been listed as the world’s seventh-highest paid sportswoman on the Forbes list last year.
McFarlane Toys Inks Deal for DC Superhero Toys
Award-winning toymaker McFarlane Toys announced that it has entered into a three-year global licensing agreement with Warner Bros. to release DC Multiverse collector figures. From early 2020, McFarlane will make action figures for both mass and specialty retail spaces, along with associated accessories and vehicles. The line-up will include characters from dozens of comic books, films, and video games produced by DC, the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world. Some famous characters include Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash.
Kiss and Emoji Collaborate
American rock band Kiss and The Emoji Company have announced a partnership for a global licensing program, which brings hundreds of unique emoji icons to users around the world and the chance to sell Kiss x Emoji branded merchandise. The collaboration for merchandise includes categories such as apparel, accessories, footwear, electronics, figures and collectibles, drinkware, fan merchandise, home goods and stationery, according to Epic Rights, which represents Kiss in this deal. A statement issued by an Epic Rights executive stated that over 6 billion digital icons are used on a daily basis in online communications.
BMG to License Music through SESAC in India
The Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) has signed a digital licensing and administration deal with SESAC Digital Licensing for the Indian market. BMG expects to reach 1.3 million potential users through Mint Digital Services, an alliance between SESAC and Swiss authors’ rights society SUISA. Mint will represent artists like Sir Ringo Starr, Bruno Mars, Bebe Rexha, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Gossip and The National in India. BMG, which was bought by Sony Corporation in 2008, creates and publishes content, and is likely to sign multiple licensing agreements with streaming and broadcasting platforms in India. SESAC will represent BMG in negotiating licensing terms and agreements with Indian and international online service providers.
Copyright Tip of the Week
If you are filing a copyright for works that have multiple contributors such as film or sound recording, a no-objection-certificate is necessary from each of the contributors along with the application.
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.
If you have any questions, you may write to BIP’s Copyright and Entertainment Law Attorneys – [email protected]