Weekly Copyright News: Fan’s Facebook Page is Back, PIL Filed Against Kedarnath, Fox News Wins Copyright Suit, Tatasky New Partner and More
Ilaiyaraja Threatens Legal Action for Non-Payment of Royalties, Fan’s Facebook Account Reactivated After BCCI Copyright Row, Another PIL Filed Against Kedarnath for Hurting ‘Hindu Sentiments’, Qatar Requests WTO Proceedings Against Saudi Arabia’s IP Violations, Gayle Awarded AUD 300,000 In Defamation Claim Against Fairfax Media, Russian IP Courts Set to Use First Intellectual Property Blockchain, Fox News Wins Copyright Suit Against Monitoring Service TVEyes, Clothing Brand Fashion Nova Slapped with Copyright Infringement Suit, Etsy and Seller Sued for Copyright Violation, Netflix Pays Warner USD 100 Million to Keep ‘Friends’, US-based Cinedigm Acquires ComicBlitz, Partners with China International TV Corp, Tata Sky Partners with Shorts TV.
COPYRIGHT QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“If you don’t move to protect copyright, if you don’t move to protect our children, it is not going to sit well.” -Barbara Boxer
INDIAN COPYRIGHT STATISTICS
There is an increase of 28% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 419 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 Recent Week|
(19th November 2018 to 25th November, 2018)
|Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week|
(26th November 2018 to 2nd December, 2018)
|1.||Literary Work||196||232||36||Increase of 18%|
|2.||Musical Work||6||3||3||Decrease of 50%|
|3.||Artistic Work||72||122||20||Increase of 69%|
|4.||Cinematograph Film||5||1||4||Decrease of 80%|
|5.||Sound Recording||11||21||10||Increase of 91%|
|6.||Software||37||40||3||Increase of 8%|
|Total||327||419||92||Increase of 28%|
INDIAN COPYRIGHT NEWS
Ilaiyaraja Threatens Legal Action for Non-Payment of Royalties
Legendary music composer and singer Isaignani Ilaiyaraja who has worked in over 1000 films, has reignited the royalty row over third parties singing or performing his songs for commercial purposes without his prior permission. After the amendment of the Copyright Act in 2012, the performers (singers), composers and lyricists are also entitled to royalty along with the first owner – usually the producer. He had earlier sent notices to renowned singers SP Balasubramanium and KS Chitra demanding royalties for performing his compositions on their tours without his permission. Nevertheless, if the issue of royalty payments to singers, composers and lyricists reaches the court, the outcome might result in necessary clarifications on the issue.
Fan’s Facebook Account Reactivated After BCCI Copyright Row
Chandigarh-based Monika Shail’s Facebook account was deactivated following a copyright violation notice by BCCI for posting a clip of a match during the India-Sri Lanka ODI series in December 2017. Due to a prolonged lack of response from the cricketing body, Shail approached the district court against the deactivation of her account which she used for business purposes also. The video was a small clip from a television broadcast where she is seen blowing a kiss to the camera during the cricket match. After a year, the Board has agreed to send a NOC (No Objection Certificate) to Facebook to reactivate her account.
Another PIL Filed Against Kedarnath for Hurting ‘Hindu Sentiments’
Two PILs have been filed in the Bombay and Uttrakhand High Courts on Tuesday against Sushant Singh – Sara Ali Khan starrer Kedarnath, set to release this Friday. The petition has accused the film of falsely portraying Muslim communities in one of the most holy places for Hindus, and promoting ‘love-jihad.’ The movie is allegedly banking on the background of the devastating Kedarnath floods in 2013. Senior BJP leader, Ajendra Ajay, has also written to the Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) Chairman, Prasoon Joshi, calling for its ban.
The petitions are yet to be heard in the respective High Courts. In Bombay, Chief Justice Naresh Patnaik and Justice MS Karnik are scheduled to hear the matter on December 5.
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT NEWS UPDATE
Qatar Requests WTO Proceedings Against Saudi Arabia’s IP Violations
Qatar has requested a consultation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), accusing Saudi Arabia of violating intellectual property rights. Qatar claims that content owned and licensed by broadcaster beIN Media Group LLC has been streaming without authorization across Saudi by beoutQ. Qatar has accused the administration in Riyadh of refusing to take effective action against piracy of beIN content and also obstructing the Qatar company from initiating legal proceedings in Saudi courts. BeIN has been blocked in the Saudi kingdom under a boycott imposed by Riyadh and its Arab allies over Qatar’s alleged ties to terrorism. Although Doha has denied the allegations, the diplomatic and trade relations between the two nations remain hostile.
Gayle Awarded AUD 300,000 In Defamation Claim Against Fairfax Media
West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has won a USD 220,000 defamation suit against Australian media house Fairfax Media over its reports claiming the cricketer exposed himself to a female masseur during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, which was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The emotional statement of the masseur, Ms. Russel, did not deter the four-person jury, which found the media house motivated by malice in harming the reputation of the batsman. Fairfax is set to appeal this order and the spokesperson has alleged prejudice in the conduct of the trial.
Russian IP Courts Set to Use First Intellectual Property Blockchain
The IPChain Association and the Russian Intellectual Property Court have signed an agreement for the development of intellectual property databases to be used in storing and managing IP data and making the IP management systems more efficient. The rapid availability of information will significantly simplify the protection of intellectual rights. IPChain is steadily gaining popularity for its technological service in local copyright/patent offices with over two dozen collaborations, including those with the Uzbekistan government, State Patent Office in Kyrgyztan and ongoing talks with the officials in Armenia.
Fox News Wins Copyright Suit Against Monitoring Service TVEyes
The US Supreme Court has denied an appeal by media monitoring service TVEyes against White House favourite Fox News Network LLC in a copyright suit for allegedly redistributing segments/content from Fox to its subscribers for free. The service gained public discourse to keep the Fox commentators accountable for their content especially in the current administration. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision rejecting any justification of fair use, and held that the distribution deprives Fox of revenue that belongs to them as the copyright owner. Monitoring and other archiving services such as TVEyes will now have to licence content from Fox, which comes with a restriction prohibiting ‘derogatory or critical’ use of such licensed clips.
Clothing Brand Fashion Nova Slapped with Copyright Infringement Suit
Fashion Nova, the clothing brand made famous by its Instagram presence, is being sued by indie-label Riot Society for copyright infringement of its ‘Panda Rose’ design on apparel. In its suit, filed in a California Court, Riot Society has claimed damages amounting to $150,000 per infringement and all legal fees. Fashion Nova is known for creating look-alike runway garments and celebrity outfits for a fraction of the price. While the copyright laws offer no protection to garments as a whole, the creative and separable elements of such articles can be protected. Hence, the ‘Panda Rose’ print by Riot Society can be separately copyrighted. Riot Society informed of the infringement as early as June 2018, and followed up with two cease and desist letters, but the continued sale of the infringing products led to the filing of the suit.
Etsy and Seller Sued for Copyright Violation
Designer Jan Davidson has sued US E-commerce website Etsy and a seller on the platform, Printful Inc., for copyright infringement. The designer claims that the seller used her Beer Eye Chart design, for which she has a copyright registration, on its apparel and products, without her permission. Ms. Davidson is a renowned artist selling her artwork in galleries, retail stores and online platforms such as Amazon. Etsy’s IP policies state it shall terminate repeat IP violators at its discretion. The judge has suggested alternate dispute resolution option to settle the matter.
MERCHANDISING AND LICENSING NEWS
Netflix Pays Warner USD 100 Million to Keep ‘Friends’
Netflix has reportedly bought licensing rights to continue streaming the hugely popular WarnerMedia sitcom ‘Friends’ atleast through 2019, for a whopping USD 100 million. This is significantly higher than the USD 30 million a year that Netflix had paid previously to stream the show. Netflix creatively announced the continued availability of the show with a tweet referencing a Christmas episode of the show. Although the negotiations had been going on for a few months, the process was complicated by the plans of AT&T, the parent of WarnerMedia, to start its own streaming platform. Although specifics of the extension deal are not available, the agreement for ‘Friends’ is non-exclusive, which means that AT&T could offer the show on its own platform if it begins operation before the expiration of the deal with Netflix.
US-based Cinedigm Acquires ComicBlitz, Partners with China International TV Corp
Cinedigm, the US-based digital content company, is set to acquire ComicBlitz, the digital comic distribution platform. The acquisition will provide users with a catalogue of 10,000 comic books from a network of more than 30 publishers including IDW, Valiant Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, and Zenescope. The service will include unlimited access for $7.55 per month, across 133 countries and will be distributed as a licensed offering for mobile carriers and other media companies. Cinedigm plans to integrate the additional content with its other global offerings to accelerate its digital growth, while ComicBlitz expects to expand its reach to a larger audience.
Cinedigm has also teamed up with China International TV Corp to bring more than 500 hours of popular Chinese content to the U.S. for its forthcoming digital channel Bambu. The channel will feature content mostly dubbed into English, and will launch in early 2019. As Cinedigm is owned by Hong Kong investment firm Bison Holdings, it has greater access to the lucrative but highly regulated Chinese market.
Tata Sky Partners with Shorts TV
Tata Sky Ltd., the direct-to-home television company, has announced a collaboration with Shorts TV, a London-based television channel dedicated to short films. This will provide users about 2,000 titles in multiple languages from countries like Britain, Latin America, Russia, Germany and France. The channel will cost Rs. 75 per month, and the content will also be available on the Tata Sky website and mobile app. Tata Sky is looking at this collaboration as a means to position itself as a provider of premium quality content, emphasising the curation and convenience of the platform.
If portions of a copyrighted work are used by someone without a license, where their usage of such work becomes an alternative in the market to the original work, then it is not fair-use.
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]