Weekly Copyright News: ShareChat Bans 50,000 Profiles, ‘Rifleman’ Rights Tussle, Reddit Shuts Down SoccerSteams, and more
ShareChat Removes 50,000 Profiles to Curb Unlawful Content, ‘Rifleman’ in Tussle over Legal Rights, Baidu Sues Bytedance and Maimai for Copyright Infringement and Defamation, Reddit Shuts Down SoccerStreams Following Copyright Complaints, US Court Dismisses Music Labels’ Lawsuit against Russian Stream-Ripper, Disney Loses USD 1 Billion in Streaming Investments, Viacom to Buy Pluto TV
The copy price of the future is the copyright. – Mathias Dopfner
There is an increase of 22% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 350 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|
(07 January, 2019 to 13th January, 2019)
|Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week|
(14th January, 2019 to 20th January, 2019)
|1.||Literary Work||130||202||72||Increase of 55%|
|2.||Musical Work||4||4||0||No Change|
|3.||Artistic Work||108||114||6||Increase of 5%|
|4.||Cinematograph Film||8||8||0||No Change|
|5.||Sound Recording||6||4||2||Decrease of 33%|
|6.||Software||30||18||12||Decrease of 40%|
|Total||286||350||64||Increase of 22%|
Indian Copyright News
ShareChat Removes 50,000 Profiles to Curb Unlawful Content
Indian social media start-up ShareChat recently removed 50,000 profiles and banned the users from posting any content on its platform. This move follows a series of complaints from users and the government, and is the result of a campaign encouraging users to identify problematic content. It is also a self-regulatory attempt by Sharechat to scrub pornographic, violent and fake content from its platform, and to curb posting of such content by repeat offenders. ShareChat has reported that its algorithms filter out the majority of the toxic content, and bucket content into categories of porn, violence, fake news, hate speech, spam, impersonation and so on. The moderators retain the right to ban accounts and even devices through which the community guidelines are repeatedly violated.
‘Rifleman’ in Tussle over Legal Rights
Recently announced Bollywood film ‘Rifleman’ is already embroiled in a legal tussle with the makers of the movie “72 Hours: Martyr Who Never Died”. Avinash Dhyani, the director of ’72 Hours’, and Abundantia Entertainment, the producers of ‘Rifleman’, are both claiming that they have the original rights to make a film based on the life of rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat. Abundantia has sent a legal notice to Dhyani and the producers of ’72 Hours’, which released on January 18, 2019. In response, Dhyani has indicated his intent to fight the notice and his displeasure at actor Sushant Singh Rajput for signing up for ‘Rifleman’ without verifying who owned the rights.
Baidu Sues Bytedance and Maimai for Copyright Infringement and Defamation
Chinese Technology and Media Giant Baidu has filed a suit against Chinese content platform developer Bytedance and the operator of professional networking platform Maimai for defamation and copyright infringement. Baidu filed the suit in a court in China, allegeing that a Maimai ad, which appeared on Bytedance’s content aggregator Jinri Toutiao, contains a play on words alluding to Baidu’s slogan. Baidu also claims that the ad, first spotted in August, used the Baidu office building as a backdrop, and appeared to guide prospective new users to a Maimai user registration page, which included a download link to the Maimai app. Baidu has accused Taou.com, Maimai’s operator, of defaming its reputation by promoting the ad, and has claimed a total of USD 735,000 as damages.
Baidu and Bytedance are also involved in other ongoing litigation in China, involving suits for unauthorised streaming, unfair competition, and breach of a non-disclosure agreement.
Reddit Shuts Down SoccerStreams Following Copyright Complaints
Social news and discussion platform Reddit has shut down the “/r/soccerstreams” subreddit (discussion thread), following complaints that users were sharing links and other means to watch football/soccer matches through unauthorized channels. At the time when it was shut down, the subreddit had well in excess of 420,000 subscribers. The moderators of the subreddit announced on the thread that user activity had been completely disallowed after they received a warning, and that they would continue to post announcements, updates and news in the event of any changes. Reddit issued the warning to the moderators in compliance with a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice, though it is unclear which football leagues filed the copyright infringement complaints with Reddit. Further, though Reddit appears to have accepted the moderators’ solution of shutting down user posts, it is likely to enforce more permanent solutions to this matter if it receives more complaints.
US Court Dismisses Music Labels’ Lawsuit against Russian Stream-Ripper
A US Federal Court has dismissed a copyright infringement case brought by Universal Music, Sony Music and 10 other record labels against the operator of FLVTO.biz, an infamous stream-ripping website based in Russia. Like other stream-ripping platforms, FLVTO allowed users to create permanent MP3 audio files from YouTube and other sources. The court ruled that it had no jurisdiction, and rejected the music labels’ claim that the site was purposefully targeting users based in the US through geo-targeted ads. Although nearly 10% of the sites traffic came from the US, the court found that the website’s interaction with the users to be non-commercial, as the revenue came from third-party advertisers and not directly from users. However, the court did not decide on the music labels’ main claims, of piracy and copyright infringement, but concluded that other courts in the US also may not have jurisdiction over this issue. The music labels filing the suit include the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Bros. A similar suit was filed in 2016 against YouTube-mp3.org, which led to the site shutting down.
Disney Loses USD 1 Billion in Streaming Investments
International media giant Disney has revealed in recent revenue filings that it has lost over USD 1 billion through its investments in streaming platform Hulu and direct-to-consumer technology. Disney’s media networks, which include ESPN, ABC, Disney Channel and others, brought in USD 7.3 billion in operating income for 2018. However, Disney has not yet assumed control of another 30 percent of Hulu, which formed a part of its USD 71.3 billion deal for the majority of 21st Century Fox. The launch of Disney’s own streaming platform, slated for late 2019, may lead to further losses until Disney builds a substantial subscriber base to compete with market leaders Netflix and Amazon.
Licensing and Merchandising News
Viacom to Buy Pluto TV
Media conglomerate Viacom has announced a bid to acquire free streaming service Pluto TV, in an attempt to expand its presence on Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku players and other connected devices. Viacom stated that Pluto has more than 12m users active every month, more than half of whom use connected televisions. Pluto, founded in 2013, is supported by advertising instead of subscription plans. Viacom has said it will pay $340m in cash for Pluto, with the transaction expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.
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]