Weekly Copyright News: Delhi HC Dismisses Sharechat Suit Against Bytedance, Google Restricts Android Licence to Huawei, Sony Playstation Diversifies into Film and TV, and more
Delhi HC Dismisses Sharechat Suit Against Bytedance, Amazon Suspends Sales of e-book ‘BAPU’, Bala Sends Legal Notice to Vikram over ‘Arjun Reddy’ Remake, Google Restricts Android Licence to Huawei Amid US-China Trade War, Flobots Sues Logan Paul for Copyright Infringement, Copyright Suit between “Pepe the Frog” Creator and InfoWars Goes to Trial, Soul Singer Sues Jay-Z & Timbaland for Copyright Infringement, Bytedance to Launch Music Streaming Service, Netflix and Youku Sign Content Licensing Deal, Sony Signs Content Deal with Gismart and Diversifies into Film and TV Through Playstation, Indian Terrain Signs Dhoni as Brand Ambassador, and more.
In making policy designed with copyright in mind, you end up making decisions about whether other important technologies, such as privacy-enhancing or file-search technologies, should be encouraged or discouraged. A collision is happening between creativity and protecting IP.
– Edward Felten
Indian Copyright News
Delhi HC Dismisses Sharechat Suit Against Bytedance
Indic-language social network ShareChat, recently filed a lawsuit against Bytedance, which was dismissed by the Delhi HC. Sharechat filed this lawsuit against the Chinese social media platform for copying ShareChat’s design and infringing copyright, thereby creating unfair competition. Bytedance had changed the name of its platform Helo, to ‘Share, Follow & Chat’ on the Google Play store, which continued only for a brief period, following which Bytedance was compelled to change its design and user interface due to the lawsuit filed by ShareChat.
ShareChat has alleged that since Helo launched in India, it has been touted as a copycat of ShareChat as both the apps used to have identical categories like Ladies’ Corner, Lifestyle, Jokes, WhatsApp Status, Love Bytes, Wishes, Quotes, and others. Helo has gained immense popularity among Indians. The app claims to have 40 million monthly active users while further targeting a 300% growth in 2019.
Another Bytedance owned app Tik-Tok, which is also one of the most valuable start-ups in the world, was recently banned in India for violating community guidelines, but was eventually allowed by the Indian government to continue operations in the country.
Amazon Suspends Sales of e-book ‘BAPU’
Online retailer Amazon recently informed Ahmedabad’s Navajivan Trust of its decision to suspend the sale of the book ‘BAPU’ on kindle e-books, after receiving a copyright infringement notice from Penguin Random House. The sale of the e-books has been suspended since 16th May and will continue until further investigation.
The Trust claims it held the sole rights to the autobiography until 2008 before it came into the public domain, and has sent several mails to Amazon asking Amazon to rectify its error and make the book available. However, Amazon is yet to respond, despite Penguin confirming that the infringement mail was most likely sent to Amazon due to a systems error and also withdrawing the infringement complaint.
Bala Sends Legal Notice to Vikram Over ‘Arjun Reddy’ Remake
Tamil film director Bala is reported to have sent a legal notice to actor Vikram, demanding that the team behind ‘Adithya Varma’, the Tamil remake of the Telugu film ‘Arjun Reddy’, not use any scenes from the version that he has shot. The remake was scrapped earlier because the filmmakers were unhappy with the first copy provided by Bala. They later decided to go ahead with the remake under a different director, and retained Vikram’s son Dhruv Vikram in the lead role. ‘Arjun Reddy’ was a breakout success in 2017, raking in Rs. 65 crore at the box office despite having a small budget of Rs. 5 crores. Its success led to filmmakers swiftly acquiring remake rights for multiple other languages, with the Hindi remake titled ‘Kabir Singh’ scheduled to release next month.
Google Restricts Android Licence to Huawei Amid US-China Trade War
Chinese phonemaker Huawei’s future now seems bleak, after Google revoked Huawei’s long-term Android license, following the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, on fraud charges. The Trump-led US government believes that Huawei is acting on behalf of the Chinese government, undermining US national security and posing cyber security and privacy risks for American and UK customers. As an Android partner, Huawei phones are dependent on licenses from Google for the Android operating system and Google’s proprietary suite of apps. Apart from Google apps, all other apps that use Google’s APIs for actions like signing in to accounts, will also be blocked on smartphones by Huawei and sub-brand Honor. Google has also removed Huawei’s phones from Android.com, which may affect the brand’s sales. However, Google has assured existing users of Huawei devices that all Google services will continue running on their devices and has granted Huawei a temporary license till August 2019. Other companies, like Qualcomm, Broadcom and Intel, whose license are essential for Huawei’s phone and network businesses, have also withdrawn their licenses.
The executive order and subsequent withdrawal by US businesses is likely to create uncertainty about the future of Chinese businesses and further escalate US-China trade issues.
Flobots Sues Logan Paul for Copyright Infringement
Rap-rock group Flobots has filed a lawsuit against YouTube star Logan Paul for copyright infringement by his 2017 single “No Handlebars”. Current and former members of Flobots have claimed that Paul’s song “copies prominent, qualitatively and quantitatively, original parts” of their 2008 single “Handlebars”.
Flobots is seeking damages and profits earned by Paul from Flobots’ copyrighted material and any other benefits earned by Paul and Maverick Media from “No Handlebars”. Flobots is also seeking an injunction barring Paul and Maverick Media from further infringing the copyright and the establishment of a “running royalty” for Flobots “on all future exploitations” of the song.
Netflix and Youku Sign Content Licensing Deal
Streaming platform Netflix has signed a content licensing deal with Chinese media giant Alibaba’s to boost its Chinese language content. Netflix bought the distribution rights from Alibaba’s Youku service for the romantic comedy series ‘I Hear You’ with plans to stream it outside China. The series will be available to more than 148 million subscribers in 190 countries and regions worldwide via Netflix. Prior to this, Netflix and Youku had signed a licensing deal in 2017 for Youku’s detective thriller ‘Day and Night’.
Sony Signs Content Deal with Gismart, Diversifies into Film and TV Through Playstation
Sony/ATV music publishing has signed a licensing deal with music app maker Gismart. This deal will provide Gismart access to Sony/ATV’s catalog, which boasts of musicians including Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Queen and The Rolling Stones, among others. Gismart had its first international artist collaboration with The Chainsmokers on its Beat Maker Go app. The company is currently working towards expanding local music catalogs in Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.
Sony’s PlayStation division is also venturing to bring its video game properties to film and television with a new enterprise called PlayStation Productions. The new production company will develop and produce projects internally, as opposed to licensing PlayStation properties out to external Hollywood studios. Sony had previously pursued a small number of projects based on PlayStation properties, which did not see much success. Sony Pictures Studios will handle distribution of PlayStation Productions’ film and TV projects.
Indian Terrain Signs Dhoni as Brand Ambassador
Menswear brand Indian Terrain has signed cricketer MS Dhoni as its brand ambassador for a 2-year term. Indian Terrain is pursuing online sales through multi-brand e-tailer platforms and on its own website which was launched recently. The company has stated that the brand is represented by the ‘Spirit of Man’ logo, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni truly exemplifies all the attributes that the brand stands for. Indian Terrain has also associated itself with another Chennai-based company, Bharat Matrimony, which opens up opportunities for more TV and digital commercials with the veteran sportsperson.
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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