Weekly Copyright News: Draft Intermediary Rules, Japan Extends Copyright Protection, Ubon Collaborates with YoYo Honey Singh and more
MEITy Publishes Draft Intermediary Rules, Major Year-end Releases Leaked Online, Amul Allowed to Air Edited Commercials, Japan Extends Copyright Protection to 70 Years, Nirvana Sues Marc Jacobs for Copying ‘Smiley Face’, Netflix Removes Comedy Episode at Saudi Demand, CBS, Showtime Face Copyright Infringement Suit, Soulja Boy Forced to Stop Selling Knock-Off Video Game Consoles, Fox Announces Alita Merchandise, Ubon Collaborates with YoYo Honey Singh for Song ‘Makhna’.
COPYRIGHT QUOTE OF THE WEEK
The point of copyright law is not to give people absolute control over everything they write. It’s to compensate artists and authors for the works that they create.
– Jason Schultz
INDIAN COPYRIGHT STATISTICS
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 330 applications were filed for copyright registration 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 Past Week|
(17th December 2018 to 23rd December, 2018)
|Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week|
(24th December 2018 to 31st December, 2018)
|1.||Literary Work||182||203||21||Increase of 12%|
|2.||Musical Work||5||7||2||Increase of 40%|
|3.||Artistic Work||70||80||10||Increase of 14%|
|4.||Cinematograph Film||2||0||2||Decrease of 100%|
|5.||Sound Recording||11||5||6||Decrease of 55%|
|6.||Software||19||35||16||Increase of 84%|
|Total||288||330||42||Increase of 15%|
INDIAN COPYRIGHT NEWS
MEITy Publishes Draft Intermediary Rules
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has published the draft Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, 2018. These rules are drafted under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and intended to replace the 2011 rules on Intermediaries. The ministry has invited comments and suggestion from all relevant stakeholders, which may be submitted till 15th January, 2019.
The draft rules, along with information on how to submit comments, can be found here.
Major Year-end Releases Leaked Online
Major and much-awaited film releases scheduled for the end of 2018 have all been leaked online on various sites. Pirated versions of KGF, Thugs of Hindostan, Aquaman and Zero were leaked on the TamilRockers platform, while Akshay Kumar’s scenes in Simmba were posted on Twitter by his fans. Although film-makers had kept the cameo a closely-guarded secret until the release, the news of his appearance in the film may generate higher viewership for the film from his fans.
Amul Allowed to Air Edited Commercials
The Bombay High Court has allowed Anand District Milk Producers Union Ltd. (Amul) to air its advertisements after deleting content to which Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) had raised objections. Amul’s ice cream advertisements emphasized the difference between ice-creams (made from milk fat) and frozen desserts (made from vegetable oil), and urged consumers to choose ice-cream. The ads included shots of vanaspati (vegetable oil) flowing in a cup with frozen dessert written on it, which HUL objected to, claiming that the ads disparaged frozen desserts. HUL, which owns Kwality Wall’s brand and is the leader in the frozen desserts market, claimed that it was directly hit by Amul’s ads though the commercials did not refer to it by name.
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT NEWS UPDATE
Japan Extends Copyright Protection to 70 Years
Japan has agreed to extend the copyright term from 50 years to 70 years post the author’s death as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This extension has gone into effect from December 30th 2018. Further, depending on when the author passes away, the copyright protection over some works currently in the public domain may be restored. Japan seems to have also responded to demands from various entertainment companies, including Walt Disney and Warner Bros., which had long pressed for longer copyright protection.
Nirvana Sues Marc Jacobs for Copying ‘Smiley Face’
American grunge rock band Nirvana is suing Marc Jacobs International, alleging that the fashion brand is infringing its copyright over its smiley face logo. The band has filed a suit in a California Court, claiming that the designer’s “Bootleg Redux Grunge” clothing range features the band’s copyright-protected ‘smiley face’ logo without authorisation. The logo, which features the letter ‘x’ in place of each eye and a tongue sticking out of the mouth, was designed by the band’s late front man Kurt Cobain in 1991, and registered for copyright in 1993. The suit identifies various items of clothing, including t-shirts and socks, which bear the “virtually identical image”, and also alleges that the web-page for each product said that “This bootleg sure smells like teen spirit”. The suit alleges further unauthorized use of Nirvana’s song titles and lyrics, including an image of the fashion designer wearing a t-shirt with the smiley face logo, above the text “Come as You Are” and a clip from the music video for the band’s 1991 single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the designer’s Tumblr page. Nirvana is seeking an injunction to prevent Marc Jacobs from advertising or selling any items bearing the smiley face image, as well as damages and fees.
Netflix Removes Comedy Episode on Saudi Demand
Netflix has removed the second episode of the Hasan Minhaj comedy series Patriot Act from its platform in Saudi Arabia following a legal demand. Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission had warned Netflix that the episode violated the kingdom’s anti-cybercrime law. The episode featured comedian Hasan Minhaj mocking the actions of Saudi officials following the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and condemning the crown prince’s policies, saying that the policies did not lead to true reform. Following the removal, Netflix issued a statement that it supported artistic freedom, but still had to comply with valid legal demands and local laws. The episode continues to be available on the show’s official YouTube channel.
CBS, Showtime Face Copyright Infringement Suit
The ReThink Group Inc. is suing CBS Corp., Showtime Networks Inc., and the creators of the show “Billions” for copyright infringement. According to the suit, filed in a New York court, the character of Dr. Wendy Rhoades, an in-house performance coach for a hedge fund, was based on the book ‘Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading, and Risk’ by Denise Shull. Shull claims that she met with the show’s creative team to discuss her work, but she never authorized them to create a derivative work. Shull claims that the Rhoades character is substantially similar to how Shull portrays herself in the book, and multiple episodes of the show feature statements, observations, and accounts that track those of the book. In her suit, Shull has also alleged that defendants violated her right to privacy, injured her business reputation, and breached an implied contract, among other claims. She is seeking a ban on the infringing work and an unspecified level of damages.
Soulja Boy Forced to Stop Selling Knock-Off Video Game Consoles
American rap artist Soulja Boy has been forced to stop selling and promoting two video games consoles which he had launched a few weeks ago, in anticipation of the high Christmas sales. The Soulja Game consoles, which were developed by Anbernic and sold through Chinese online retailer AliExpress, were designed to resemble an Xbox One S, while the controllers resembled the PlayStation DualShock. Despite claiming that he had obtained licenses for the games running on the consoles, the consoles were illicitly running games by multiple video games publishers, including Bandai Namco, Nintendo, Square Enix and Sega. Nintendo threatened criminal charges against him, forcing the rapper to finally stop selling and promoting both systems.
MERCHANDISING AND LICENSING NEWS
Fox Announces Alita Merchandise
Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products announced new details about their line of merchandise inspired by Alita: Battle Angel, which includes figures, collectible prop replicas, cosplay and costumes, novelizations, making-of books and subscription gifts. The highly-anticipated film, based on acclaimed manga series “Gunnm,” is scheduled to release in theaters worldwide beginning on February 5, 2019. Funko’s Alita Pop! figures collection, Weta Workshop’s line of Alita MINI EPICS figures and pro replica weapons, are available now, and more merchandise is expected to launch soon. In addition to this, key publishing partner Titan has introduced Alita: Battle Angel books, including a novelization, prequel story, making-of book, and an in-world character journal.
Ubon Collaborates with YoYo Honey Singh for Song ‘Makhna’
Ubon, the Indian mobile gadget accessory brand has collaborated with Punjabi rap music sensation YoYo Honey Singh in his latest song ‘Makhna.’ YoYo Honey Singh is seen donning Ubon headphones in the music video, which is the first Indian song to reach 2 million views within just 2 hours and was the fastest to hit 25 million views on YouTube.
An artistic work that can also serve as a trademark requires you to get a no-objection-certificate from the Trademark Office in India before it can be applied for copyright protection with the Copyright Office.
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]