Copyright for Old Songs, Cases Against Accidental Prime Minister, Court Dismisses Raymond MD’s Plea, Works from 1923 in Public Domain and More

Bombay High Court to Decide on Copyright for Old Songs, Accidental Prime Minister: Multiple Cases Filed, Private FM Channels Allowed to Broadcast All India Radio News till May 31, Supreme Court to Take Action against Officials Using Section 66A of Information Technology Act, Court Dismisses Raymond MD’s Plea against Father’s Autobiography, Music Labels Seek to Block Unauthorized Downloads of YouTube Audio, Renowned Classic Works from 1923 Now in the Public Domain, Behavior Interactive and Bethesda Resolve Copyright Infringement Dispute Amicably, CD Baby Artists Earn Over $100 Million in 2018


“Copyright? Copy RIGHT: Steal ideas, steal facts, but do not steal words.” -Dan Poynter


There is an increase of 23% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 254 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
(24th December 2018 to 31st     December, 2018)
Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week
(01th January, 2019 to 06th      January, 2019)
Change Percentage Change
1. Literary Work 203 191 12 Decrease of 6%
2. Musical Work 7 4 3 Decrease of 43%
3. Artistic Work 80 31 49 Decrease of 61%
4. Cinematograph Film 0 6 6 Increase of 100%
5. Sound Recording 5 3 2 Decrease of 40%
6. Software 35 19 16 Decrease of 46%
Total 330 254 76 Decrease of 23%


Bombay High Court to Decide on Copyright for Old Songs

A division bench of the Bombay High Court has admitted a plea filed by lyricist and song writer Pramod Surya and two publishers, Pukhraj Surya and Hiten Patel, seeking to quash the FIR filed against them by Malad police for reproducing several Marwari and Gujarati songs, usually sung during weddings. The Court will consider whether the reproduction and compilation of old and traditional songs amounts to copyright violations, and also whether criminal action can be initiated in such cases.

Accidental Prime Minister: Multiple Cases Filed

An appeal has been filed against the Delhi High Court’s order dismissing a petition to ban the trailer of the upcoming movie, “The Accidental Prime Minister”. The Delhi High Court had dismissed the petition as the party filing the petition had no standing and private interests were involved.  The petition had alleged that the trailer of the film created wrong impressions in the minds of people just ahead of the general elections, defamed the constitutional post of the Prime Minister, and was likely to harm India’s relations with foreign states.
However, a Muzaffarpur court in Bihar directed the local police to lodge an FIR against 15 people associated with the movie, including actors Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna. The direction by the court came after a lawyer, Sudhir Kumar Ojha, pleaded before the Court that Anupam Kher and the others associated with the film had defamed former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and had caused a breach of peace in society with the release of the film’s trailer.

Private FM Channels Allowed to Broadcast All India Radio News till May 31

The Central Government has accepted the long-standing demand of private radio broadcasters to present news on their platform. Further, private FM channels have been allowed to broadcast All India Radio news in English and Hindi. The FM channels will have to carry the AIR news in an unaltered format and the service will be available free of cost on a trial basis till May 31, 2019. As per the terms and conditions, during the trial period, private FM broadcasters have been asked to give due credit to AIR and avoid broadcasting in disturbed areas, border areas and Naxal-affected areas.

Supreme Court to Take Action against Officials Using Section 66A of Information Technology Act

The Supreme Court has stated that it will order the imprisonment of any official responsible for the continued prosecution and harassment of people under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which has been struck down. The section had made it a punishable offence for a person to send offensive messages through communication services. The court had struck down this provision as unconstitutional in 2015. The court further issued a notice to the Centre after the People’s Union for Civil Liberties alleged that the Centre had not taken enough steps to communicate the 2015 judgment and at least 22 fresh cases had been registered subsequently.

Court Dismisses Raymond MD’s Plea against Father’s Autobiography

A Mumbai court has dismissed Raymond Group MD and Chairman Gautam Singhania’s prayer for an injunction against his dad Vijaypat Singhania’s autobiography, ‘The Incomplete Man’. The petition argued that the book contained defamatory statements which would harm his reputation, while the author Vijaypat Singhania argued that the autobiography only depicted the reality, and hence was not defamatory.


Music Labels Seek to Block Unauthorized Downloads of YouTube Audio

Major music labels such as Sony Music Entertainment Australia, Universal Music Australia and Warner Music with Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) are seeking to have Australian telecommunications providers block four online services that allow users to download YouTube-hosted videos in MP3 format. The labels claim that Flv2Mp3, Convert2mp3, and Flvto services allows their users to create downloadable copies of digital content that is otherwise only available to be streamed through YouTube.

Renowned Classic Works from 1923 Now in the Public Domain

A large body of copyright-protected films, music, and books from 1923 have entered the public domain, including Tarzan, The Golden Lion, and Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. The list also includes cinematographs like B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments”, songs like Jelly Roll Morton’s “Grandpa’s Spells” and poetry collections like Cummings’ “Tulips and Chimneys”. All these works would have entered the public domain in 1999, but the US Congress had extended the copyright term by an additional 20 years for works created between 1923 and 1977.

Behavior Interactive and Bethesda Resolve Copyright Infringement Dispute Amicably

A lawsuit brought by American video game publisher Bethesda earlier this year against Canadian video game developer Behavior Interactive and Hollywood studio Warner Bros has been amicably settled. Bethesda had accused WB and Behavior Interactive of copyright infringement, alleging that their mobile game, ‘Westworld’, infringed the copyright of Bethesda’s game ‘Fallout Shelter’. Bethesda had claimed high similarity in game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements, and also pointed out a number of similar or identical bugs in Westworld’s demo which also existed in earlier versions of Fallout Shelter. The terms of the settlement have not been released.


CD Baby Artists Earn Over $100 Million in 2018

CD Baby, a renowned digital music distributor, has revealed that its artists earned more than $100 million in 2018. This amount includes income from digital distribution (streaming and downloads) along with music on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, and music publishing, sync and direct CD sales. CD Baby represents more than 750,000 artists, 170,000 songwriters, and over 9 million tracks across 800+ genres.  Last year, CD Baby became one of just two music distributors to be named both a Spotify Preferred and an Apple Music Preferred Plus partner.


Songs or other works whose copyright has expired and therefore are now in the public domain can be freely used by anyone but you will not be able to replicate the same and claim copyright over it.

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]

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