Sarkar in Copyright Trouble, ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ Leaked, China Bans Many Karaoke Songs, Harry Potter Themed Event, Google Partners with Sephora and more

‘Sarkar’ Accused of Copyright Infringement, ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ Leaked, China Bans More Than 6,000 Karaoke Songs, Rihanna Sends Notice to Trump for Unauthorised Use of Music, Treats for Fans of the Harry Potter Wizarding World, Google Ropes Sephora Into Home Hub Partnership


“I believe in copyright, within limited precincts. But I also believe in fair use, public domain, and especially transformation” -David Shields


There is an increase of 35% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the previous week. A total of 380 applications were filed for copyright registration during the last week. A majority of the applications were filed for literary works and artistic works.

S. No Type of Work Number of Applications filed in the Previous Week
(22nd October to 28th October, 2018)
Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week
(29th October 2018 to 04th November, 2018)
Change Percentage Change
1. Literary Work 151 209 58 Increase of 38%
2. Musical Work 9 11 2 Increase of 22%
3. Artistic Work 66 122 56 Increase of    85%
4. Cinematograph Film 1 3 2 Increase of 100%
5. Sound Recording 7 10 2 Increase of 200%
6. Software 48 25 23 Decrease of 48%
Total 281 380 99 Increase of 35%


‘Sarkar’ Accused of Copyright Infringement

Varun Rajendran, the writer and assistant director of the film Sarkar, has approached the Madras High Court to enforce copyright protection of his work ‘Sengol.’ He has alleged that the Vijay-starrer ‘Sarkar’ has incorporated the contents of his book, which he had registered with the Writers’ Union in 2007. The similarity between ‘Sengol’ and ‘Sarkar’ was affirmed by the South Indian Film Writers Association. The Madras High Court rejected the writer’s petition to stay the release of the film, but issued a notice to Sun Pictures, the producer of the Sarkar. However, it has been reported that an out-of-court settlement has been made with the writer.

‘Thugs of Hindostan’ Leaked Hours After Release

The action-adventure film ‘Thugs of Hindostan’, was found online just hours after its release on on November 8th 2018. Despite earning Rs. 52 crore on the opening day, the entire film has been leaked online by the piracy website TamilRockers, in all three languages in which it was released – Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, reportedly in HD print. TamilRockers was also behind the leaks of other recent releases, including Sarkar and Vada Chennai. The Tamil Film Producers’ Council (TFPC) has urged theatres to  ensure that films were not recorded on mobile phones or cameras.


China Bans More Than 6,000 Karaoke Songs

The state-sponsored China Audio-Video Copyright Association (CAVCA) recently ordered KTV karaoke businesses to remove over 6600 songs from their karaoke offerings. CAVCA manages audio-visual content in China with the approval of the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC), and has been cracking down on copyright violations more strictly for the last few years. Over the past few months alone, it has dealt with thousands of cases of alleged copyright infringement for businesses registered as karaoke venues in the past year. The banned songs include titles from popular Hong Kong and Taiwanese artists, well known songs from the 1990s and early 2000s which were mostly cover or alternate versions. CAVCA holds the management rights to over 90 percent of KTV songs in China and KTV operators are expected to obtain the collective’s authorization before being allowed to use them. However, it does not hold management rights to all the songs it has banned, and appears to have issued the order to avoid multiple suits by individual copyright holders.

Rihanna Sends Notice to Trump for Unauthorised Use of Music

Rihanna is the latest among the list of artists unhappy with US President Donald Trump for using their music in his rallies. Her attorneys have sent a cease-and desist notice to Trump’s White House Counsel for using her popular song “Don’t Stop the Music” at a recent rally.  Prior to taking legal action, Rihanna protested Trump’s use of her music on Twitter. She closely follows Pharrell Williams, whose attorney served a cease and desist notice to President Trump, after the latter played his song, ‘Happy’ at one of his rallies. The list comprises artists like Adele, Queen, The O’Jays and The Rolling Stones.


Treats for Fans of the Harry Potter Wizarding World

Barnes & Noble, the world’s largest retail bookseller, has announced special events on November 17 to celebrate the launch of the second film in the Fantastic Beasts series. The events include Harry Potter-themed pop-up book activities, a LEGO® group-building challenge, cosplay, and photo opportunities with a special movie backdrop. For the events and promotions, Barnes and Noble has exclusive partnerships with Warner Bros (the producers of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film series), Scholastic (the publishers of the books in the US), LEGO, and Jelly Belly (for food merchandise).
Innovative publisher Insight Editions has announced two special-edition tie-in books of the Harry Potter film series, one of which is set to include wands, never-before-seen art from the wand-makers for the films, posters, and collectible boxes. The other will include pop-up versions of the Hogwarts castle and other key locations featured in the films.

Google Ropes Sephora Into Home Hub Partnership

Acting on the explosion of viewership for beauty tutorials on YouTube, Google has announced a partnership with cosmetics giant Sephora for its new Home Hub device. The Home Hub is a variant of Google Home, and is a touch-screen enabled voice assistant. Sephora, with over a million YouTube subscribers, brings its YouTube beauty tutorials exclusively to the Home Hub, which is likely to further Google’s endeavour to popularise its Home and Home Hub products. Google has also been working with brands like Estée Lauder, Disney and BuzzFeed Tasty on separate partnerships for Home Hub, to expand its exclusive content offerings. Google is also selling the Home Hub device through Sephora’s website, and plans to sell it in stores as well.


A sound recording, or a recorded song contains multiple underlying works.  These typically include the lyrics, sheet music and composition contributed by multiple parties.  However the copyright in the sound recording even with multiple underlying works is owned by the producer.

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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