TRAI Act Prevails over Copyright, Netflix sued for copyright infringement, ToH deal with Google and more.

Supreme Court: TRAI Act Prevails over Copyright Law, No Winners in I&B Plan for DD Broadcast, Satanic Temple Sues Netflix for Copyright Infringement, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley Top Dead Celebrity Earners, Thugs of Hindostan Strike Innovative Deal with Google Maps.


“The beauty of Copyright law is it protects you and it provides you the opportunity to honour others” – Peter Smith


There is an increase of 24% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 281 applications were filed for copyright registration during the last week. Most of the applications were filed for literary works and artistic works.

S. No Type of Work Number of Applications filed in the Previous Week
(15th October to 21st October, 2018)
Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week
(22nd October to 28th October, 2018)
Change Percentage Change
1. Literary Work 114 151 37 Increase of 32%
2. Musical Work 5 9 4 Increase of 80%
3. Artistic Work 73 66 7 Decrease of 10%
4. Cinematograph Film 0 1 1 Increase of 100%
5. Sound Recording 13 7 6 Decrease of 46%
6. Software 22 48 26 Increase of 118%
Total 227 281 54 Increase of 24%


Supreme Court: TRAI Act Prevails over Copyright Law

In a petition before the Supreme Court, Star India Private Ltd. and others had challenged the decision of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ordering to fix a uniform maximum retail price for each TV channel at Rs 19 including the HD and standard channels, claiming that it violates the copyright of the broadcasters over the content on the channels as the regulation affects broadcasters’ right to offer paid channel as bouquet or a-la-carte at their discretion.
The Court held that the TRAI Act must prevail to the extent of any inconsistency, over the Copyright Act. The Court based its decision on the fact that the TRAI Act was conceived in public interest to serve the interest of both broadcasters and consumers, while the Copyright Act protects the property rights of only broadcasters. The court dismissed the appeal stating that TRAI was protecting public interest of millions of viewers by capping the price of channels and broadcasters’ copyright was subservient to public interest.

No Winners in I&B Plan for DD Broadcast

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has expressed its intent to amend the Sports Broadcasting Act, 2007, which allowed Doordarshan (DD) to show widely followed sporting events to which it didn’t have the rights. Through this Act, DD has been able to telecast events including India’s cricket matches, the ICC Cricket World Cup, and the inaugural and finals of the Football World Cup on a free-to-air basis.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of rights holders, who had challenged this provision. The Court ruling disallowed DD from telecasting the events on private cable and DTH platforms. However, this amendment is likely to reinstate DD’s rights.
Broadcasts have expressed concern over the I&B Ministry’s plan, saying that it will hamper their ability to charge advertising premiums, and will undermine their payment of hefty fees for exclusive broadcasting rights. The unavailability of exclusive rights could effectively deter broadcasters from bidding for rights, which would be detrimental to the sports ecosystem, which greatly depends on funds from broadcasting.
The ministry is currently seeking feedback on the amendment proposal. Notice regarding the proposed amendment can be accessed here.


Satanic Temple Sues Netflix for Copyright Infringement

Satanic Temple, a religious and political group based in Salem, US, announced last week that it would be taking legal action against Netflix for alleged copyright infringement. It claims that Netflix used the design of its statue of the deity Baphomet in the Netflix original production The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. In Netflix’s reboot of the Archie Comics series, the statue appears in several scenes featuring Sabrina. The group has accused Netflix of “appropriating” its original design.
Satanic Temple’s lawyers have sent Netflix a letter about the unauthorised use of the statue. Interestingly, Satanic Temple isn’t claiming rights to the figure of Baphomet itself, but rather the specific layout of its monument, which it claims is an original interpretation. The group is looking to make Netflix remove the statue from its series entirely.

Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley Top Dead Celebrity Earners

Singers Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley have topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid dead celebrities, with an impressive haul of USD 440 million between them. Jackson’s earnings of USD 400 million over the last year alone eclipsed the USD 228 million earned by the 12 other dead celebrities on the list. In the decade since his death, Jackson has earned USD 2.4 billion, of which USD 287 million came last year from the sale of his estate’s stake in EMI Music Publishing to Sony. Presley’s earnings came from continuing sales of over 1 million albums every year, and a new $45 million entertainment complex called Elvis Presley’s Memphis.


Thugs of Hindostan Strike Innovative Deal with Google Maps

The team at YRF behind Thugs of Hindostan has struck a first-of-its-kind licensing deal in India with Google Maps to make navigation through the app fun for its users. Beginning tomorrow, Google Maps users in India will have the option of navigating with Firangi, Aamir Khan’s character in the movie. The option is available for both Android and iOS phones, and includes not only the character on his famous pet donkey, but also catchy dialogues from the film. Google has previously partnered with various companies including Nintendo, to bring beloved characters like Waldo, Pac-man and Mario Kart to its Maps interface.


Producers of works such as songs or movies will require no-objection letters from contributors to that work when pursuing a copyright registration.  Though copyright ownership of the work resides with the producer, there are certain royalty obligations to the contributors that continue.

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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