Boney Kapoor’s Notice to ‘Sridevi Bungalow’, ‘Uri’ Makers Prevent Piracy, Netflix Sued, and more

Boney Kapoor Sends Legal Notice to Makers of ‘Sridevi Bungalow’, ‘Uri’ Makers Take Stringent Measures to Prevent Piracy, Copyright Office Invites Applications for Examiners on Contract Basis, YouTube Removes BTS and TWICE Videos over Copyright Claims, MTI Awarded Damages in Copyright Infringement Case, Publisher Sues Netflix for Infringement, WB Sues Harry Potter-themed Cafe for Copyright Infringement, Forza Horizon 4 Removes Dance Emotes, Spotify Partners With T-Series Ahead of India Launch, KodakOne Blockchain Beta Generates USD 1 Million in Licensing Claims

Copyright Quote

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

Copyright Statistics

There is an increase of 13% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 286 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 Past Week
(01st January, 2019 to 06th      January, 2019)
Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week
(07th January, 2019 to 13th      January, 2019)
Change Percentage Change
1. Literary Work 191 130 61 Decrease of 32%
2. Musical Work 4 4 0 No Change
3. Artistic Work 31 108 77 Increase of 248%
4. Cinematograph Film 6 8 2 Increase of 33%
5. Sound Recording 3 6 3 Increase of 100%
6. Software 19 30 11 Increase of 58%
Total 254 286 32 Increase of 13%

Indian Copyright News

Boney Kapoor Sends Legal Notice to Makers of ‘Sridevi Bungalow’

Boney Kapoor, movie producer and husband of late Bollywood actress Sridevi, has sent a legal notice to the makers of the film ‘Sridevi Bungalow’. The trailer for the movie was released recently, and appears to be based on the life of the actress Sridevi, although it has not been described as a biopic. It is reported that Boney Kapoor copyrighted his late wife’s life story so no one but him could make a film based on her legacy.
Director Prasanth Mambully has claimed that the film is a suspense thriller, and has not responded to allegations that the film is connected to Sridevi. However, he has defended the film, stating “Sridevi is a common name. My film’s character also happens to be an actress.”

‘Uri’ Makers Take Stringent Measures to Prevent Piracy

The makers of the film “Uri: The Surgical Strike” have taken stringent measures to prevent piracy of the film, including releasing fake videos of the film. Users who tried downloading the movie from illegal sites received a video featuring actors Vicky Kaushal and Yami Gautam mocking their efforts to watch the pirated version of the film, along with repeated trailers of the film. The video is a one-of-a-kind initiative taken by the makers of the film to fight piracy of Bollywood movies.

IPRS Re-admitted to CISAC

The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) has been readmitted to international authors’ rights association CISAC as an associate member after a two-year hiatus. IPRS had been removed from CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) after a review found that IPRS had failed to comply with CISAC’s rules. This expulsion has now been reversed by the CISAC board, in response to IPRS’ widespread reform in corporate governance, transparency, licensing, collections and distribution of royalties. CISAC has agreed to aid IPRS through a comprehensive development review, and has acknowledged the potential of IPRS for creators in India’s huge market. This re-admission, along with IPRS’ recent re-registration as a copyright society under the Copyright Act, 1957, could further strengthen its position in the administration of creative works in India.

Copyright Office Invites Applications for Examiners on Contract Basis

The Indian Copyright office has issued a public notice inviting applications from suitable candidates for engagement as Examiner of Copyrights purely on a contract basis, at a consolidated pay of Rs. 45,000/- per month. There are 20 vacancies at present, for an engagement period of 1 year, with all appointed candidates to be posted at the Copyright Office in Delhi.
Further information, along with application format and deadlines can be accessed here.

International News

YouTube Removes BTS and TWICE Videos over Copyright Claims

Music videos from South Korean pop groups BTS and TWICE were temporarily taken down from YouTube, following false copyright claims allegedly made by Aiplex Software Private Limited. Several other big names in K-pop were also similarly affected. However, within approximately an hour and a half of the mass removal, all of the videos reappeared on YouTube. On hearing of the false claims, over 5,000 people signed an online petition asking YouTube to ban Aiplex, which is based in India.

MTI Awarded Damages in Copyright Infringement Case

American musicals licensor, Music Theatre International (MTI), has been awarded damages of USD 450,000 plus attorney’s fees by a US Court in a suit against Theaterpalooza Community Theater Productions for a number of unauthorized and unlicensed productions. MTI had filed the suit in June 2018 following Theaterpalooza’s repeated and willful infringement of MTI’s well-known copyrighted musicals for over three years.

Publisher Sues Netflix for Infringement

Chooseco LLC, the publisher of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series, has sued streaming service Netflix in a US Federal Court, alleging trademark infringement. The suit alleges that Netlfix deliberately exploited the brand to launch its film ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’, which allows viewers to direct the character’s action, leading to a variety of possible endings. The suit claims that Netflix had attempted to negotiate a license to use the “Choose Your Own Adventure”, but no deal was made. The suit claims that the trademark was infringed through references to the book series by the main characters of the film, and that the violent imagery is inappropriate for the young adult readers of the book series, and thus tarnishes the brand.
The suit also notes that 20th Century Fox recently optioned the rights to develop an interactive film series based on the books.

WB Sues Harry Potter-themed Cafe for Copyright Infringement

Warner Bros Entertainment (WB) has sued a Harry Potter-themed cafe in Hong Kong for copyright infringement. WB has accused the 9 3/4 Cafe of infringing its copyright to its original artistic works and its registered trademarks, and is demanding a removal order and multiple injunctions, along with damages and costs. WB is seeking the removal of all banners, signs, signboards and promotional materials bearing “9 3/4 Cafe”.
Despite the Café displaying a notice stating that the “9 3/4 cafe is not related to Warner Bros Entertainment Inc, Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling”, WB is alleging infringement and passing off. The Café’s Facebook page captured broomsticks, magic wands and movie merchandise decorating the Café’s interiors. The infringing displays include a luggage trolley half-submerged in a wall, the Gryffindor coat of arms and the Hogwarts Express train ticket for Platform 9 3/4. Trademarks allegedly being infringed include “Harry Potter”, “quidditch” and “muggles”.

Forza Horizon 4 Removes Dance Emotes

Turn 10 Studios, which develops the Forza series of racing games for Xbox and PC, has announced that it will remove two controversial dance emotes from its latest game offering, Forza Horizon 4. This move follows numerous lawsuits against Fortnite creator Epic Games for doing the same in its popular Battle Royale game. Turn 10 Studios, which is owned by Microsoft, has not stated any legal reasons for the removal, and has only informed users that the two dances “are no longer available”. This is the first time a game developer has backed away from asserting its right to copy and include a virtual version of a dance move popularized in real life.

Licensing and Merchandising News

Spotify Partners With T-Series Ahead of India Launch

Music streaming giant Spotify, which has been in talks with various Indian music labels for over a year now in preparation for its launch in India, has inked a deal with T-Series, the country’s largest music producer. T-Series is known for producing Bollywood music soundtracks, and owns a catalog of over 160,000 songs, which Spotify users can now access.
Spotify, which is based in Sweden, is yet to announce its launch date in India, although various reports suggest that the service might be available in India by the end of January 2019. Spotify is also yet to sign any deals with other music labels like Sony, Universal and Warner, and is still working on its pricing plan. It prices its premium service differently based on the market, and it is unclear how much it will cost in India. It is also thought that Spotify faces an uphill task in competing for users on par with other streaming services like JioSaavn while also maintaining its revenue over the long term and offering record labels satisfactory royalties.

KodakOne Blockchain Beta Generates USD 1 Million in Licensing Claims

KodakONE — the developer of a blockchain-based platform licensed by photo industry giant Kodak —is reported to have generated over USD 1 million in licensing claims for image rights during a limited beta test of its platform. KodakONE Image Rights Management Platform is an image copyright protection, monetization and distribution platform secured via blockchain, with RYDE Holding (formerly Wenn Digital) as an official brand licensee. The beta version of the Post-Licensing Portal (PLP) uses an intelligent web crawler and image recognition technology to enable rights holders to track their images and rights infringements. KodakONE plans to integrate the platform for instant license settlement and smart contracts for managing licenses at a large scale.

Tip of the Week

Publicly known facts or events in a well-known person’s life story cannot be copyright protected.  What is protectable is the expression of those facts or events in a particular manner such as a book, or a documentary, or a film.

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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