Facebook to Share Chats with Police, Artist Sues Ariana Grande, ‘Fiji Water Girl’ Suit, and more

Facebook to Provide User Chat Details for Sensitive Cases to Delhi Police, MEITy Invites Counter Comments on Draft Intermediary Rules, Vegas Artist Sues Ariana Grande for Using Art in Music Video, Creators of Netflix’s ‘Wild Wild Country’ Sued for Copyright Infringement, ‘Fiji Water Girl’ Sues Fiji Water for Unauthorised Use of Images, Spotify in Talks to Acquire Gimlet, TikTok and Sony Collaborate to Promote Thriller ‘Escape Room’

Copyright Quote

The Copyright Bargain is a balance between protection for the artist and rights for the consumer.
Robin Gross

Copyright Statistics

There is an increase of 14% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 439 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 Previous Week
(21st January, 2019 to 27th       January, 2019)
Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week
(28th January, 2019 to 03rd February, 2019)
Change Percentage Change
1. Literary Work 213 194 19 Decrease of 9%
2. Musical Work 4 8 4 Increase of 100%
3. Artistic Work 123 185 62 Increase of 50%
4. Cinematograph Film 2 9 7 Increase of 350%
5. Sound Recording 13 9 4 Decrease of 31%
6. Software 31 34 3 Increase of 10%
Total 386 439 53 Increase of 14%


Indian Copyright News

Facebook to Provide User Chat Details for Sensitive Cases to Delhi Police

Facebook will soon begin sharing with the police the details of private chats involved in sensitive cases such as kidnapping and crimes against women and children. According to reports, a meeting was organized by Facebook’s Safety Head, Satya Yadav, and the cyber wing department heads of the Delhi Police. The agenda of the meeting was to specify the special circumstances under which the details of the chats shall be shared, with Facebook stating that it will look into the urgency and gravity of the case, with keen attention given to ones that involve women and children. The police have requested Facebook to provide information like IP logs, IP register, mobile numbers and email addresses speedily whenever required.

MEITy Invites Counter Comments on Draft Intermediary Rules

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has published the comments and suggestions submitted by stakeholders in response to the notification of the Draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules) 2018 in December 2018. The comments and suggestions submitted by various stakeholders, the notification inviting counter comments and instructions for submission may be accessed here. The deadline for submitting counter comments is 14th February, 2019.

International News

Vegas Artist Sues Ariana Grande for Using Art in Music Video

A Las Vegas based artist has sued American pop singer Ariana Grande for copyright infringement, alleging the use of art work similar to his copyrighted work in her music video for the song ‘God is a Woman’. Artist Vladimir Kush’s paintings titled ‘The Candle’ and ‘The Candle 2’, depict the silhouette of a woman as the wick of a candle coupled with a bright yellow flame and a blue background. He contends that any minor difference would not change the impression in the mind of the viewer and claims that the defendants clearly copied the idea from his paintings. Kush has filed a suit seeking the removal of the video from YouTube and payment of ancillary damages and attorney’s fees.

Creators of Netflix’s ‘Wild Wild Country’ Sued for Copyright Infringement

The controversial, award winning docu-series ‘Wild Wild Country’, produced by Netflix has now been embroiled in a copyright infringement suit. The suit has been filed by the Osho International Foundation, which promotes the teachings of the infamous Indian Guru Rajneesh (Osho). In its lawsuit, the Foundation has alleged the use of several copyrighted videos by Netflix that have been utilized without acquiring prior permission. The foundation is joined in the suit by Michael Hilow, a filmmaker, who is alleging the unauthorized use of footage from his film ‘Rajneeshpuram, An Experiment to Provoke God’ in the docu-series. They have claimed that in the first episode alone,  over 12 minutes of unauthorized copyrighted footage has been used.
The plaintiffs have written to Netflix regarding the numerous infringements but are yet to receive ‘a meaningful response’. In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking to attain the unauthorized gains from the show and damages for infringement as well.

‘Fiji Water Girl’ Sues Fiji Water for Unauthorised Use of Images

Earlier this year, at the Golden Globes Awards 2019, a viral meme was created featuring the ‘Fiji Water Girl’. The image was that of model Kelleth Cuthbert, who appeared to have photo-bombed a majority of the celebrity red-carpet pictures while holding a tray of Fiji water bottles. In her statement, Cuthbert alleges that after her images went viral, the water company earned upward of USD 12 million dollars and are now using cardboard cut-out images of her in a marketing campaign which she did not approve of.
The model alleges that Fiji Water tried to bribe her with gifts and forced her to sign documents, and also recorded a fake video to hold as proof against her. Cuthbert has insisted that no such agreement exists between her and Fiji Water to use her viral image for profit, and is seeking damages for the unauthorised use. In a recent interview, Fiji Water brushed off these claims calling them ‘frivolous’ and ‘without merit’. The company also stands confident that they will prevail in court.

Licensing and Merchandising News

Spotify in Talks to Acquire Gimlet

Spotify, the music and podcast streaming platform, is now in serious talks with Gimlet Media, a leading podcast production house for an acquisition. Podcasting has seen substantial growth over the years and has practically replaced mainstream radio, while churning out audio on a variety of topics ranging from true-life experiences to fictional stories. It has also been estimated to have a listenership that is on a steady rise. Gimlet Media is one of those pioneers in the world of podcasting whose content seems to have been received well by the audience, making them a forthright success story. It still seems unclear as to where exactly the podcasting production houses gather a majority of their revenue from. Apart from strategically made advertisements, these seems to be a rather limited scope for revenue on this front.
The current valuation of Gimlet Media is placed to be at around USD 70 Million, while Spotify is in talks to acquire the company for approximately USD 200 million. If Spotify manages to acquire Gimlet, it can compete better in the podcasting world by offering substantial original podcast content. Spotify is also likely to be ahead of the game as it will not be cross-subsidizing its content like Apple or Google, but rather will be producing high-quality commercial audios and videos.

TikTok and Sony Collaborate to Promote Thriller ‘Escape Room’

The world’s leading short form video platform, TikTok, has teamed up with the producers of the latest thriller movie ‘Escape Room’, Sony Pictures Entertainment to create a promotional campaign. The collaboration involves some of the top TikTok content creators and influencers from over 17 countries. For the campaign being hosted in Madrid, Sony Pictures has recreated elaborate sets inspired from the feature film and got the influencers on board to try the ‘escape rooms’ and record their experience on their TikTok accounts.
Inam Mahmood, Head of TikTok Brand Partnerships, stated that the brand’s demographic and target audience are very much in line with that of ‘Escape Room’ and believes that this ‘creators’ event’ will put out a variety of exciting and engaging content for the global audience as well. With Sony Pictures Spain creating the live experience in Madrid, based on the movie, the TikTok creators were able to generate their own fun and shareable UGC for their followers and spread their excitement about the film”.

Tip of the Week

Use of a celebrity’s image clicked by a photographer requires you to not only get the permission from the photographer for the copyright but also the celebrity as they have personality rights.

Author: BIP’s Copyright and Entertainment Law Attorneys

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]

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