WEEKLY COPYRIGHT NEWS: VOLUNTARY CENSORSHIP BY NETFLIX, PETITION AGAINST NON-VOLUNTARY LICENSES PROVISIONS OF COPYRIGHT LAW, IP ADDRESS INSUFFICIENT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, HARRY POTTER HOME FURNISHING AND MORE
Netflix, Amazon Explore Voluntary Censorship, Petition Filed Challenging the Non-Voluntary Licenses Provisions of Copyright Law, Mahesh Bhatt’s Jalebi Poster Inspired by 1950 Korean War Goodbye Kiss, Prince’s Claims Infringement Against Piracy Network, Rod Stewart Sued for Mis-use of Image, Ownership of IP Address Insufficient for Infringement: US Court, Pottery Barn Debuts ‘Harry Potter’ Inspired Consumer Products, The Lord of the Rings free-to-play online game from Athlon Games, Huawei Optimizes More than Sponsorship of the Toronto Film Festival, Mattel Partners with the United Nations to bring Thomas into the 21st Century.
COPYRIGHT QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“There is no sense in owning the copyright unless you are going to use it. I don’t think anyone wants to hold all of this stuff in a vault and not let anybody have it. It’s only worth something once it’s popular.” – Hilary Rosen
INDIAN COPYRIGHT STATISTICS
There is a decrease of 38% in the total number of copyright applications filed this week as compared to the applications filed last week. A total of 211 applications were filed for copyright registration during the last week. Most of the applications were filed for literary and artistic works. Applications for sound recording decreased substantially from 17 to 1.
|S. No||Types of Work||Number of Applications filed in the Previous Week|
(20th August to 26th August, 2018)
|Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week|
(27th August to 31st August, 2018)
|1.||Literary Work||191||120||71||Decrease of 37%|
|2.||Musical Work||10||3||7||Decrease of 70%|
|3.||Artistic Work||94||58||36||Decrease of 38%|
|4.||Cinematograph Film||9||16||7||Increase of 78%|
|5.||Sound Recording||17||1||16||Decrease of 94%|
|6.||Software||17||13||4||Decrease of 19%|
INDIAN COPYRIGHT NEWS
Netflix, Amazon Explore Voluntary Censorship
Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar, known as video-on-demand (VOD) companies, are exploring a voluntary censorship code in India to cover online content. Currently online content is unregulated in India, and is gaining more attention of audience than traditional television.
The companies came together to discuss self-regulation of hate speech, hate crimes, child pornography and other forms of inappropriate content and to include a mechanism to redress consumer complaints. These self-regulation steps are being taken with a view to reducing risks due to growing intolerance, and capitalising on the long-term business potential in India.
Petition Filed Challenging the Non-Voluntary Licenses Provisions of Copyright Law
Lahari Recording Company, a South India-based music label which has a tie-up with the largest music companies in the country, has filed a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of certain copyright law provisions providing for compulsory licenses when works are withheld from the public by the copyright owner.
These copyright provisions were introduced by the Parliament to empower broadcasters who have suffered a major loss in business due to restrictive licensing practices by music labels. The intent was to strike a balance between the music labels’ interests and those of broadcasters such as radio, TV, and internet, making copyrighted works available to meet public interest.
Mahesh Bhatt’s Jalebi Poster Inspired by 1950 Korean War Goodbye Kiss
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt unveiled the poster of Jalebi and received great reviews by fans. According to the makers of the film, “Jalebi – The Everlasting Taste of Love” tells a story about how to live in an age of bewilderment. The post on social media by Mahesh Bhatt has been compared to the 1950 Korean War Goodbye Kiss photo.
The 160th Infantry Regiment of the US Army was departing for training camp, part of the Korean War troop call-up, when the photo of Robert Maye and his wife, Gloria, kissing goodbye, was taken with the help of Harvey Wilson and Frank Harvey. The iconic photograph basically symbolized the distress wrought by the Korean War, and has been viewed and shared by millions through various social media platforms. The image is likely in the public domain and as such the similarities with the Jalebi poster would not be considered copyright infringement.
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT NEWS UPDATE
Prince’s Claims Infringement Against Piracy Network
The estate of late singer Prince has filed a suit in a US Federal Court against an alleged European Piracy network seeking damages for copyright infringement. The suit alleges that the defendants, located in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, have been selling his music around the world without permission. The music in dispute includes selling of unreleased studio recordings and bootlegged recordings of his live performances, along with his final Atlanta concert in 2016. The suit seeks USD 2 million for each violation.
Rod Stewart Sued for Mis-use of Image
Photographer Julia McLellan has filed a suit in a county court in the US against singer Rod Stewart for copyright infringement. She claims that Stewart used a photograph owned by her without her permission as a backdrop for one of his concerts in 2015. The suit follows her repeated requests for fees to cover use of the image and a failure of efforts to amicably settle the dispute. The photograph, which features Stewart, had been taken in the 1960s and had not been published until its use in the concert. Ms. McLellan claims she acquired the copyright from the photographer in 2004, and is seeking £9,999.99 in damages.
Ownership of IP Address Insufficient for Infringement: US Court
In its recent judgement, San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court held that merely an internet protocol address is not enough to bring a copyright infringement claim. The judgement was pronounced in the case filed by Cobbler Nevada LLC against the illegal download of the movie “The Cobbler”, through the peer-to-peer network BitTorrent.
Initially the case was filed against John Doe (person unknown), but it was later amended and Thomas Gonzales, the registrant of the IP address from which the movie was uploaded, was made the sole named defendant in the case. The Court dropped the charges against Gonzales and held that mere registration of IP address in the name of a person does not establish that the said person is an infringer himself. The Court further concluded that the plaintiff must show intentional encouragement or inducement of infringement, and not just that the defendant did not properly police his internet connection.
MERCHANDISING AND LICENSING NEWS
Pottery Barn Debuts ‘Harry Potter’ Inspired Consumer Products
Pottery Barn, a premium home products retailer, announced last week that it was unveiling a line of home furnishing and home décor products inspired by the Harry Potter world. In partnership with Warner Bros Entertainment Inc., Pottery Barn intends to release the themed collection through its sister brands Pottery Barn Kids and PB Teens as well. The product categories include furniture, textiles, decorative accessories, entertaining essentials, gear, holiday décor and gifting, inspired by characters, symbols, and various details from the movies. This partnership is among the latest in the consumer products merchandising programs entered into by Warner Bros, which is known for its innovative and often highly profitable retail initiatives and themed experiences.
The Lord of the Rings free-to-play online game from Athlon Games
Athlon Games, an LA-based creator of PC games, has signed a long-term licensing agreement with Middle-earth Enterprises to develop an online game based on The Lord of the Rings franchise. The games are set in a universe before the events of the franchise, and will focus on experiences outside those seen in the books and movies. This exploration of new possibilities in the Tolkien universe marks a willingness to look beyond the usual, while actively licensing entertainment such as games or other media. Interestingly, licenses for creating video games and other entertainment media come from Middle-earth enterprises, and not from the Tolkien estate, due to the sale of the majority of media rights back in 1968.
Huawei Optimizes More than Sponsorship of the Toronto Film Festival
The Canadian branch of Chinese smartphone giant Huawei is once again sponsoring the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). This partnership between Huawei and TIFF is especially interesting as this is not just a brand partnership. During TIFF, Huawei will be showcasing its technology, enabling customers to connect to their products. To this effect, TIFF will have a special event, namely TIFF Portrait Studio, for celebrities to have their photos taken professionally using only the new Huawei P20. This will be a good promotional event for a phone having the world’s first Leica-manufactured triple camera. In addition to this, TIFF’s social team will also be using Huawei P20 to capture red carpet content throughout the festival.
Mattel Partners with the United Nations to bring Thomas into the 21st Century
Mattel Inc., maker of the famous “Thomas the Tank Engine” brand of toys, is collaborating with various program advisors from the United Nations to make the brand more relevant in the 21st century. With the aim of advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Mattel is taking a number of steps to portray more racial and gender diversity, responsible consumption through recycling, and the maintenance of healthy ecosystems. While it remains to be seen whether Mattel can achieve its own goals of selling this fresh take to its pre-school consumers and improving sales, this collaboration marks a step beyond where Hollywood or the toy industry have ventured before.
The copyright law in India allows for composers and lyricists to assign their copyrights to the producer of a sound recording but does not allow for them to sign away the right to collect royalties for certain types of exploitation.
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]