Delhi HC Passes Order Against Unauthorized Broadcast of World Cup 2019; Madras HC Issues Interim Injunction Against Kolaiyuthir Kaalam; Karnataka Police Arrests Two Men for Abusive Video against Deve Gowda’s Family; Alex Jones Settles Suit with ‘Pepe the Frog’ Creator for USD 15,000; Lego Sues Lakeshore Learning for Infringement; US DOJ to Review Performance Rights Licensing Agreements; Spanish Football League App Fined for Spying on Users; Virat Kohli the Only Indian in Forbes’ 2019 List of Highest-paid Athletes; Aditya Birla Fashion Acquires Online Fashion Platform Jaypore ; Salman Khan Hike Stickers Launched for Salman Khan Film Bharat; Amazon Invests INR 2800 Crores in India, and Shuts Food Delivery Service; Flipkart Reduces Sellers’ Commissions to Boost Sales; Facebook Invests in E-Commerce Start-up Meesho, and more.
Thought of the Week
“The most important thing about intellectual property vs. creative expression is that copyright law was created not to stifle creativity but to encourage creativity.”
– Shepard Fairey
Indian Copyright News
Delhi HC Passes Orders Against Unauthorized Broadcast of World Cup 2019
The Delhi High Court has passed interim order on 3rd June 2019, restraining several broadcasters from making radio or audiovisual broadcasts of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, which is being held in England from 30th May to 14th July 2019. The suit was filed by Channel 2 Group Corporation, which had acquired exclusive broadcasting rights for audio content from the ICC’s business arm, against over 60 defendants including ISPs, radio channels, and websites. In passing this order, the court relied on its own previous ruling in the Star India case, which mandated a 15-minute lag for any updates being provided without a license. The order covers match updates in the audio and textual formats, and also requires search engines to delete listings of infringing pages.
Madras HC Issues Interim Injunction Against Kolaiyuthir Kaalam
The Madras High Court has issued an interim injunction against the Tamil film Kolaiyuthir Kaalam starring Nayanthara in the lead role, which was set to release on 14th June. The thriller film is an adaptation of Tamil writer Sujatha’s novel and has been directed by Chakri Toleti. The application for an injunction was filed by Balaji Kumar, director of Vidiyum Munn, who claimed to hold the rights of the novel, and thus alleged copyright infringement by the producers. The Court has given the producers of the film time to respond till 22nd June.
Karnataka Police Arrests Two Men for Abusive Video against Deve Gowda’s Family
In yet another case of people being arrested for criticizing politicians, the Karnataka police have arrested two men, a petrol pump attendant and a cab driver, for posting a video where they allegedly abuse former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and his family over the poor performance of JD(S) in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. This follows recent arrests in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal of journalists for criticizing or lampooning politicians, and a recent order of the Supreme Court which the release of a journalist, despite voicing disapproval of his posts.
Alex Jones Settles Suit with ‘Pepe the Frog’ Creator for USD 15,000
Alex Jones, the owner and host of conspiracy theory and fake news website ‘Infowars’, has agreed to settle with the creator of ‘Pepe the Frog’, Matt Furie. Furie had filed a suit against Jones for copyright infringement, against Jones’ unauthorized use of the frog in promotional material, which was later misappropriated by Alt-Right and Neo-Nazi groups on the internet. As part of the settlement, Infowars as agreed to pay Furie USD 15,000, and to destroy all copies of the poster in its possession.
Lego Sues Lakeshore Learning for Infringement
Denmark-based toy manufacturer Lego has filed a suit against Lakeshore Learning Materials, an American company which makes children’s educational materials and toys. Lego claims that Lakeshore infringed Lego’s copyright and trademarks in its ‘Minifigure’ designs. Lego has been involved in other lawsuits where it has sued companies for copyright and trademark infringement of the ‘Minifigure’ design in the past. Lego is alleging willful infringement of trademarks and copyrights, and is seeking injunctive relief along with an order for the infringing figures to be destroyed.
US DOJ to Review Performance Rights Licensing Agreements
The United States Department of Justice is initiating a formal review of music-licensing rules, as a part of anti-trust investigations into various consent decrees. The dominant Performance-rights Organisations (PROs), including the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc (BMI), together license about 90% of the music in the US. They are required to issue licenses under consent decrees, which cover all works in their repertoires when requested by music users, and license prices are decided before a district court if parties are unable to agree voluntarily. Both ASCAP and BMI have welcomed the review as an opportunity to participate in modernising the music licensing process.
Spanish Football League App Fined for Spying on Users
The Spanish Data Protection Agency (APED) has imposed a fine of 250,000 Euros on the Spanish Football League (La Liga) for using its official app to gather information on users from their mobile phones. The APED found that the app was accessing and remotely activating the phone’s microphone, and using location data to catch unlicensed broadcasts of La Liga matches. The app had been downloaded more than 10 million times. The app did not adequately notify its users about these surveillance features, which is a violation of the EU directive on data protection. The league has responded with claims that the feature was specifically created to combat piracy, and was implemented on an experimental basis for a short period. This dispute marks an interesting turn in balancing the economic rghts associated with IP, with the privacy rights of users and potential infringers.
Virat Kohli the Only Indian in Forbes’ 2019 List of Highest-paid Athletes
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli was the only Indian to be ranked on Forbes’ 2019 list of the World’s 100 highest-paid athletes. The list was topped by two football stars, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, and featured only one woman, tennis superstar Serena Williams. The list considers the earnings of the players, their winnings and their endorsements.
Virat Kohli is estimated to have earned USD 25 million in total, with USD 21 million from endorsements and $4m from salary and winnings over the last 12 months. Kohli’s current brand value stands at a staggering $144 million, ranking him as India’s top celebrity brand, ahead of Shah Rukh Khan. He currently endorses 17 brands, including his own fashion house WROGN.
Aditya Birla Fashion Acquires Online Fashion Platform Jaypore
Jaypore, an online platform set up in 2012 to cater to the US market, has been acquired by Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail for ₹110 crore. Jaypore is a B2B entity which sells handmade and handcrafted apparel and accessories, and has customers in over 60 countries. Aditya Birla, which is currently more focused on western and casual wear, is likely to expand its fashion footprint in ethnic wear with this acquisition.
Salman Khan Hike Stickers Launched for Salman Khan Film Bharat
Indian messaging app Hike has launched a sticker pack of Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif as part of the promotion of their film Bharat. These stickers feature Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif with their famous dialogues in the film. The app currently features over 30,000 stickers in over 40 Indian languages and dialects, and expects to add over 100,000 in the coming months. It has previously partnered with other big-ticket releases like Bahubali and Gully Boy for stickers.
Amazon Invests INR 2800 Crores in India, and Shuts Food Delivery Service
Online retail giant Amazon has invested INR 2800 crores into its operations in India, following an INR 2200 crores investment last year. Amazon made the investment by allotting 2.8 billion equity shares of value INR 10 each to the Indian entity. The funding is expected to help Amazon compete with Walmart in one of its fastest-growing markets, and also to help the company tide over some of the uncertainty caused by recent changes in e-commerce regulations.
Amazon has announced the end of its food delivery service, Amazon Restaurant, which was started in 2015 but failed to take off in any market. In the US, Grubhub, DoorDash and UberEats lead the food delivery market with smaller players, including Amazon Restaurants, holding only 7% share. Amazon continues to invest in other food delivery startups, which may help it overcome some of the logistical challenges and re-enter this space.
Multinational courier service FedEx has announced that it would not be renewing its contract with Amazon for expedited package deliveries in the US, but will continue offering international deliveries. FedEx and UPS are the only two companies which offer expedited delivery services in the US, both of which had contracts with Amazon. FedEx’s decision is likely to benefit UPS and the US Postal Service, while also allowing Amazon to revisit the expansion of its own delivery network.
Flipkart Reduces Sellers’ Commissions to Boost Sales
Flipkart recently announced the reduction of commissions which it charges from vendors who sell products on the marketplace. In the fiercely competitive e-commerce market, this move is likely to encourage more sellers to sell on Flipkart, thereby giving customers access to a wider variety of products. The e-commerce giant cut its commissions by 8% for furniture and home products and 13% for books and general merchandise. Flipkart is also aiming for shipping efficiency by with significant reductions of about 57% for products weighing about 500 grams to 3 kgs, and regional shipping divisions. The revised rates are believed to have implemented to attract small sellers, who were put off by the huge commissions and low margins.
Facebook Invests in E-Commerce Start-up Meesho
Fcaebook is buying a stake in Indian e-commerce start-up Meesho, a digital platform for re-sellers. Meesho connects re-sellers of goods ranging from jewelry to mobile phones, with buyers through social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The exact amount of Facebook’s investment in Meesho is unknown, though Meesho has earlier raised about USD 65 million in funding. Meesho currently has about 2 million sellers, most of whom are women and students, and focuses on smaller towns and cities, which would enable a wider reach.
Authored and compiled by Ashwini Arun (Associate, BananaIP Counsels)
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