Patanjali Forces Removal of Defamatory Videos, Registration Needed for Infringement Suit, Netflix sued for FYRE, and more

Delhi High Court Directs YouTube to Take Down Video Defaming Patanjali, Uri Makers Lose Piracy Battle After Recent Surgical Strikes, Spotify India Hits One Million Users in its First Week, Copyright Office Allows Scanned Signatures in Applications, SCOTUS: Copyright Registration a Must to File Infringement Suit, FYRE Festival Attendee Sues Netflix for Copyright Infringement, Warner Bros. Shuts Down ‘The Departed’ Campaign Claiming Copyright Infringement, Fox Loses Huge ‘Bones’ Lawsuit Involving Profit Participation, Coogi Sues Nets, Nike and NBA over Notorious B.I.G Themed Merchandise, Disguise Inc. Signs Multi-Year Licensing Agreement to Create Pokémon Costumes, WB Brings Hello Kitty! to Hollywood, Mötley Crüe Partners with Global Merchandising Services and Epic Rights, E-Bay Partners with Comic Creators for Superheroine HQ, NBC Universal Signs Steaming Deal with Avod Tubi, and more.

Copyright Quote

The copyright bargain: a balance between protection for the artist and rights for the consumer.
– Robin Gross

Copyright Statistics

There is an increase of 36% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 275 applications were filed during the last week. The majority of applications were filed for literary works and computer software.

S. No Type of Work Number of Applications filed in the Previous Week
(18th February, 2019 to 24th February, 2019)
Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week
(25th February, 2019 to 28th February, 2019)
Change Percentage Change
1. Literary Work 216 185 31 Decrease of  14%
2. Musical Work 8 06 02 Decrease of 25%
3. Artistic Work 147 39 108 Decrease of 73%
4. Cinematograph Film 29 02 27 Decrease of  93%
5. Sound Recording 7 05 2 Decrease of  29%
6. Software 20 40 20 Increase of 100%
Total 427 275 152 Decrease of 36%


Indian Copyright News

Delhi High Court Directs YouTube to Take Down Video Defaming Patanjali

In a suit filed by Patanjali Ayurved Limited and Baba Ramdev, the Delhi High Court has directed YouTube to take down a video which allegedly defamed Patanjali products from YouTube. Patanjali and Baba Ramdev had sought a permanent injunction against the video, alleging that it contained several defamatory, disparaging and threatening statements against Patanjali Products. They also sought an injunction against Google, YouTube and Facebook to take down the video and all links to the video for both Indian and international domains.  Besides directing YouTube to take down the video, the court also directed Facebook to ensure that links to the video are no longer available on its platform. The court also observed that the video not only violated the law due to its explicit and derogatory language, but also violated the self-prescribed guidelines of these platforms. This follows an earlier order by the court directing the removal of the video from the Indian domains of these platforms. The court also directed YouTube to provide available information of the person uploading the video, to enable Patanjali to take further action.

Uri Makers Lose Piracy Battle After Recent Surgical Strikes

The producers of ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ starring Vicky Kaushal, had fought an innovative battle against piracy when the movie released this January. The producers and the actors had come together and taken various measures to safeguard the movie from being leaked or available pirate sites. However, following the recent Pulwama attacks and the subsequent strikes by the Indian Air Force, the movie was leaked online in high definition version by an unknown person on various pirate sites.

Spotify India Hits One Million Users in its First Week; Industry Supports Warner

Music streaming giant Spotify was launched in India last week, and has gained around one million users, despite an ongoing dispute with Warner Music. Warner Music had filed a suit to restrain Spotify from streaming its music in India, but was denied a temporary injunction. Spotify had claimed that it was relying on statutory licensing rules in India for the use of music from Warner’s catalog for now. However, major music publishers like Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), Sony/ATV, and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) have voiced their support for Warner in the dispute.

Copyright Office Allows Scanned Signatures in Applications

The Copyright Office has issued a public notice announcing that it will allow applicants to upload scanned signatures, while online filing of a copyright application on Form XIV. The scanned signatures of the applicant must be uploaded as an image (.jpeg format only), not exceeding 512 KB. This provision has been made available for all applications filed online on or after 1st March, 2019.
The notice may be accessed here.

International News

SCOTUS: Copyright Registration a Must to File Infringement Suit

The US Supreme Court has recently held that copyrights must be registered before any action for infringement can be brought in the court. The infringed work must be registered with the US Copyright Office, and a mere application for registration will not suffice. The US Copyright regime already provides numerous financial incentives for the registration of a work, and this ruling will provide all the more reason for a copyright holder to register his/her work to enforce their rights. Although one can avail expedited registration at the U.S Copyright Office at a fee, this ruling will make it difficult if the registration faces a delay of a few weeks, particularly in cases where temporary restraining orders or other preliminary injunctive relief are being sought.

FYRE Festival Attendee Sues Netflix for Copyright Infringement

In the wake of Netflix’s mega successful documentary ‘FYRE’, which featured the happenings behind the disastrous music festival, an attendee has initiated a suit against Netflix and producer Jerry Media for copyright infringement. Clarissa Cardenas claims that Netflix used a video which she shot at the festival in its documentary without her permission, and is initiating a suit for USD 150,000 in damages.
The FYRE festival was advertised to be the most unique, luxurious and unparalleled music experience but turned out to be a failure with plenty of lawsuits to its name.

Warner Bros. Shuts Down ‘The Departed’ Campaign Claiming Copyright Infringement

A campaign on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, which was initiated to change the ending of Martin Scrosese’s film ‘The Departed’ has now been shut down by Warner Bros. The divisive ending of the film shows a rat crawling across the screen which also represents the two ‘rats’ in the movie – a police officer and a mobster which infiltrate each other’s set-ups. The campaign argues that the very obvious metaphor ruins the movie and has been initiated in order to buy the proper equipment needed to digitally erase the rat from the movie’s last scene. The founder of the campaign, Adam Sacks of New York, intended to buy 50 Blu-ray discs of “The Departed” and edit them so that he could redistribute these rat-less versions. Warner Bros. has taken down the Kickstarter page and has issued a statement stating that the campaign to “digitally remove a rat from the end of its motion picture” and “promising to distribute the edited footage upon completion” violates its copyright in this film.

Fox Loses Huge ‘Bones’ Lawsuit Involving Profit Participation

Media giant Fox will now have to shell out over USD 127 Million in damages to the team of its hit television series ‘Bones’ for not adhering to profit participation conditions. The suit against Fox was first initiated in 2005 by Bones’ executive producer Barry Josephson for denying him his rightful profit participation. Soon after, producer Kathleen Reichs and stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz filed their own lawsuit alleging that they were also cheated out of their contractually-owed profit for years. The Bones team ultimately consolidated the two suits, which resulted in an arbitration proceeding against Fox that lasted for three years. The ruling stated that Fox was “taking a cavalier attitude towards its wrongdoing” and showing a “company-wide culture and an accepted climate that enveloped an aversion for the truth”. Ultimately, the case was ruled in favour of the Bones team and the actual damages — including interest, attorneys’ fees, arbitrator costs totaled USD 50,240,048, plus punitive damages in the whopping amount of USD 128,455,730. Fox has issued a statement stating that it disagrees with the decision and plans to appeal.

Coogi Sues Nets, Nike and NBA over Notorious B.I.G Themed Merchandise

New York fashion label Coogi is suing the basketball team Brooklyn Nets, their uniform sponsor Nike and the NBA for alleged copyright infringement. Coogi is famous for selling merchandise in association with late-rapper Notorious B.I.G and alleged that this year’s Brooklyn City Edition Uniforms infringes copyright on their ‘Pea Soup’ and ‘Ricotta’ designs. Nike labelled the design ‘Brooklyn Camo’ but has also paid homage to the star in their adverts. The lawsuit states that “The defendants were well aware that Biggie neither wore nor rapped about anything called ‘Brooklyn Camo’, but they created, marketed and sold and distributed ‘Brooklyn Camo’ products so as to confuse consumers about the connection between their goods … and Coogi.” Coogi is seeking an injunction to stop all parties involved from selling the ‘Brooklyn Camo’ merchandise and is suing for damages as well.

Licensing and Merchandising News

Disguise Inc. Inks Multi-Year Deal for Pokémon Costumes

Top-selling Halloween costume maker Disguise, Inc., has announced a multi-year licensing agreement with The Pokémon Company International, Inc., to design and manufacture Halloween costumes based on popular Pokémon characters. This licensing deal has risen out of the mega popularity of the Pokémon franchise and will encompass the US and Canada. Tara Hefter, EVP and GM of Disguise, Inc. issued a statement confirming that Pokémon, one of the most iconic brands, is as popular as ever, and the company is excited to help fans of all ages ‘become’ many of the most beloved characters from the franchise this Halloween. The collection is set to launch in Fall 2019, just in time for Halloween.
The merchandising of the popular Pokémon franchise will help viewers build stronger connections with their favourite on-screen characters like Pikachu, Eevee, Ash Ketchum and many more. The availability of memorabilia will allow the viewer to take home a part of their viewing experience thus enhancing the popularity and goodwill of the show.

WB Brings Hello Kitty! to Hollywood

Hello Kitty! fans can now rejoice as this beloved character is set to finally comes to life in a feature film. Warner Bros. revealed that its New Line Division and producer Beau Flynn had persuaded the Sanrio Corporation of Tokyo – after five long years – to allow the studio to use its valuable cat figure in a feature film. Sanrio created the character in 1974 and its merchandising has proved to be immensely successful. As of today, Hello Kitty! is valued at USD 6 Billion and has also won the hearts of many fans around the world. The film deal includes other merchandising agreements and spinoffs. New Line Division has also been granted permission to use 20 other Sanrio characters. Hello Kitty does not have a mouth, and therefore was never required to emote or speak. Licensing experts say that Kitty’s popularity — she appears on 50,000 different products in 130 countries — involves simplicity: Because the character does not emote, people of all ages and nationalities can project themselves on her. However, this may create more than a few hurdles for the producers responsible for bringing the character to life on-screen.

Mötley Crüe Partners with Global Merchandising Services and Epic Rights

Notorious rock bands Mötley Crüe has teamed up with Global Merchandising Services and Epic Rights to develop and launch retail licensing and e-commerce programs. The licensing material will be based on the band’s iconic album art, photographs, logos and graphics. The merchandise will include a range of apparel, accessories, footwear, electronics, figures, collectibles, drinkware, fan merch, stationery, gaming, spirits, and more. This deal comes at the right time, as the band prepares for the release of ‘The Dirt’, a Netflix movie based on the group’s best-selling autobiography of the same name. The iconic band has accumulated over 100 million records sold worldwide; seven platinum and multi-platinum certifications; a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; and countless sold-out tours across the globe. The release of merchandise and memorabilia at this time will provide more opportunity to create a buzz around the film and also provide fans with a heightened overall cinematic experience.

E-Bay Partners with Comic Creators for Superheroine HQ

In anticipation of International Women’s Day this Friday and the upcoming release of ‘Captain Marvel’, e-commerce platform E-Bay has launched a new curated collection of female-focused superhero content. The new portal is the result of a partnership between eBay and comic book creators Gail Simone and Cat Staggs. To mark the launch, eBay is offering a limited-edition Captain Marvel comic book created in collaboration with Marvel and eBay seller MyComicShop. The portal is intended to be a destination for online customers of female superhero comics, collectibles and related merchandise, and is responding to the rising popularity of superheroes like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel.

NBC Universal Signs Steaming Deal with Avod Tubi

Media conglomerate NBC Universal has teamed up with ad-supported streaming service Tubi to stream some of the most popular content from the NBC Universal world. The licensing deal has given Tubi close to 400 TV and movie titles to add to its library. New titles include “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” “The A-Team,” “Punky Brewster,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Quantum Leap,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Bionic Woman” and “She-Ra: Princess of Power.”
Tubi is planning to spend more than $100 million on content deals this year and this expanded library for Tubi comes as the company is pushing its 2018 growth and plans to spend big on content acquisitions in 2019. Although NBC Universal has said that it will be releasing its own streaming services by 2020, it will continue to license content even after it launches its own streaming product. NBC is likely to retain a few titles exclusively for its platform.

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