WEEKLY COPYRIGHT NEWS: KAJAL’S COPYRIGHT CASE, PUBG AND FORTNITE LAW SUIT ENDED, NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT SUED FOR NON-PAYMENT OF LICENSE FEE, PEPPERFRY TO EXPAND HOUSE BRANDS, YOUTUBE EXPANDS CHANNEL MEMBERSHIPS MORE
No Obscenity on Magazine Cover: Kerala High Court, Actress Kajal Agarwal loses copyright case against VVD oil, Canadian Publishers welcome settlement between Laval University and Copibec, PUBG Corp drops suit against Fortnite Creators, Copyright Agency Sues New South Wales state government, Furniture marketplace Pepperfry to expand house brands portfolio, YouTube expands its merchandising, membership options.
COPYRIGHT QUOTE OF THE WEEK
I think intellectual property is more like land, and copyright violation is more like trespass. Even though you don’t take anything away from the landowner when you trespass, most people understand and respect the laws that make it illegal. The real crime in copyright violation is not the making of the copies, it’s the expropriation of the creator’s right to control the creation.
– Brad Templeton
INDIAN COPYRIGHT STATISTICS
There is a significant increase of 46% in the number of copyright applications filed this week as compare to the applications filed last week. A total of 389 applications were filed for copyright registration during the last week. Most of the applications were filed for literary and artistic works. Applications for cinematograph film also decreased substantially from 5 to 2.
|Type of Work||No. of Applications between 11-15 June||No. Of Applications between 18-22 June||Change||Percentage Change|
INDIAN COPYRIGHT NEWS
No Obscenity on Magazine Cover: Kerala High Court
In a recently published decision, High court of Kerala Rejected the petition filed by Advocates. K Vinod and Felix MA against Malayalam magazine ‘Grihalakshmi’ for showing obscenity on the cover page of the magazine with caption “Mothers tell Kerala: Don’t stare, we want to breastfeed.”. The division bench of Chief Justice Antony Dominc and Justice D Sheshadri Naidu stated that “Despite our best efforts, we do not see any obscenity in the picture nor do we find anything objectionable in the caption for men. We looked at the picture with the same eyes as we look at the paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Verma. As beauty lies in the beholder’s eye, so does obscenity perhaps.” Court also observed that “shocking one’s moral is an elusive concept” and refused to go with the petitioner’s contention that the cover affected the “society’s moral fabric”.
Actress Kajal Agarwal loses copyright case against VVD oil
On June 25, the Madras High Court dismissed an appeal filed by Telugu and Tamil Actress and model Kajal Agarwal against VVD oil. In her petition, she had alleged that the hair oil company was to use a television commercial for only a year but had done so beyond that period, which began in 2008. The actress claimed compensation to the tune of Rs 2.5 Cr. The division bench of Justice MM Sundresh and Anand Venkatesh ruled that VVD & Sons is the first holder of copyright in the advertisement, and denied the plea for damages stating there was no basis to award such damages.
The court further stated, “A person who becomes the first owner of the copyright for his entire work, has been conferred with a statutory right for a period of 60 years over the cinematograph of the film. This statutory right cannot be taken away by a performer in the cinematograph film by virtue of an agreement. Hence, we hold that VVD is entitled to exploit the work for the entire term prescribed under Section 26 of the Copyright Act and is not restricted for a period of one year by the agreement.”
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT NEWS UPDATE
Canadian Publishers welcome settlement between Laval University and Copibec
The Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) appreciated copyright society Copibec and Laval University for having amicably resolved a longstanding dispute over unlicensed copying of copyright-protected materials. In 2014, Laval had ended its licensing agreement with Copibec, causing Copibec to file a suit against the university on behalf of publishers and creators. Laval had stopped following the terms of the Copibec licenses and implemented its own guidelines, whose adoption resulted in an annual loss to Canadian publishers and creators of $30 million in licensing revenues alone, not including the sales losses of Canadian educational institutions.
ACP President Glenn Rollans stated that ACP was encouraged by the news of Copibec and Laval’s settlement, which shows that negotiation can lead to positive outcomes for both educators and rightsholders, without the financial and other costs of litigation. He also expressed willingness on the part of Canadian publishers to negotiate collective licences with Canadian educational institutions across the country, and respect decisions of the Copyright Board.
PUBG Corp drops suit against Fortnite Creators
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds withdraw a copyright law suit against Epic Games Inc., developers of a popular game Fortnite. This copyright infringement accusation arose as PUBG separately sued China’s Netease Inc. for allegedly basing two games “Rules of Survival” and “Knives Out” on its product. Reason behind this withdrawal is unknown and neither party has confirmed whether any settlement is reached between these giant game developers.
Copyright Agency Sues New South Wales state government
The Copyright Agency Ltd. is pursuing the law suit filed last year against the New South Wales state government after an unsuccessful mediation for non-payment of copyright licensing fees for the material used by the agencies of the state government.
However, the Department of Justice is still hopeful about negotiating a deal on behalf of the state government, to deliver an outcome that is reasonable for both authors and taxpayers. As these negotiations are commercially sensitive and the matter is still before the Copyright Tribunal, the spokesperson declined to make further comments.
MERCHANDISING AND LICENSING NEWS
Furniture marketplace Pepperfry to expand house brands portfolio
Mumbai-based furniture marketplace start-up Pepperfry announced an expansion of its house brands portfolio to double the offline studio base from the current 32 to over 70 by March 2019. The company generated actual turnover of about ₹1,000 crore in 2017, and is targeting ₹6,500 crore by 2020 with its Housebrands contributing about half of this projected business. The company hopes to break even within the next 12-18 months.
Chief Category Officer of Pepperfry, Hussaine Kesury stated that “The company has grown rapidly over the past six-and-a-half years and has meticulously built a catalogue of over 1.2 lakh plus products to have a differentiated product portfolio for any online and offline furniture.” He also spoke about the low share of organised sellers and online sales in the furniture market, and said the expansion would be led by franchise studios.
YouTube expands its merchandising, membership options
Google’s YouTube announced an expansion of its channel memberships to channels with more than 100,000 Subscribers. Previously, channels memberships were available to select creators as sponsorship, allows viewers to pay $4.99 monthly to receive unique perks like exclusive content. YouTube has also partnered with Teespring to help content creators customize and selling merchandise, like T-shirts and phone covers, directly from their channels. The feature will be available to eligible U.S.A-based channels with more than 10,000 subscribers.
As per the reports, creators were losing up to 80% of their revenue because of tougher monetization standards, giving rise to speculations that YouTube talent would prefer rival platforms like Amazon’s Twitch or Facebook.
When a user creates and shares original content online, he/she is the owner of the copyright in that content. The Terms of Service of social media platforms and other digital platforms often require content creators to contractually waive rights over their intellectual property, including copyrights. For instance, if a user uploads a video on YouTube and allows other people to share or embed your UGC, then in most instances, no copyright violation has taken place. Although the law is constantly changing in this area, a key takeaway is that content creators should review the Terms of Service and any updates to such terms in order to consciously determine which rights to provide to a digital platform. Further, copyright owners can also use the mechanism provided by most online platforms to report infringement and request that infringing material be taken down.
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]