IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (APRIL 22-28)

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SAREGAMA DRAGS SPOTIFY TO DELHI HIGH COURT OVER COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

In a copyright infringement suit filed by music giant Saregama against Spotify before the Delhi High Court, Spotify gave an undertaking to the court to pull down all the works belonging to Saregama from Spotify’s platform within 10 days. The suit was filed on account of Saregama songs being available on Spotify without any license being taken from Saregama.

Saregama and Spotify have been in licensing discussions since February 2018. Saregama pleaded that on request of Spotify, Saregama had provided them with its works a month prior to the launch of Spotify’s platform in India to enable Spotify to upload the same on their platform at the time of the launch in India. However, the license agreement could not be finalized and Saregama thereafter requested Spotify to take down/ block their work on the Spotify platform.

Spotify informed the court that they do not consider this litigation as adversarial and submitted that whatever work infringed the copyright of Saregama would be taken off/ deleted within 10 days.

SUPREME COURT DISMISSES PLEA FILED BY MAKERS OF THE BIOPIC ON PM NARENDRA MODI

The Supreme Court on April 26 dismissed the petition filed by the producers of the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi challenging the decision of the Election Commission to ban the film until the Lok Sabha elections are over.

The Election Commission had directed “ That any biopic material in the nature of biography/ hagiography sub-serving the purposes of any political entity or any individual entity connected to it, which is intended to, or which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections, should not be displayed in electronic media including cinematograph during the operation of MCC”.

The producers of the film challenged this decision of the EC before the Apex Court.

On April 15, the Supreme Court  asked the Election Commission to watch the biopic on Prime minister Narendra Modi and submit a report in a sealed cover. Th EC was also told to give its opinion on whether the broadcast of the movie ought to be put on hold till the Lok Sabha elections are over.

In its report to the Court, the EC once again opined that the film should be shelved during the election season.

The court was not inclined to interfere with this decision of the EC.

The producers of the film however wrote to the EC on April 27 seeking clarification on its decision to stay the release of the film as they intend to promote the film in areas which are no more affected by the Moral Code of Conduct after the end of polling on April 24, 2019. They sought permission to promote the film in 373 constituencies that would be out of the moral code of conduct by April 29.

EC INITIATES STEPS TO TAKE DOWN TRAILERS OF MAMATA’S BIOPIC FROM INTERNET SITES

The Election Commission initiated steps to ensure the removal of the trailer of the film “Bhagini” alleged to be a biopic on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee as they found the trailer to be in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The step came in after the recent notice passed on April 10 regarding the biopic of Narendra Modi, stating that “any biopic material in the nature of biography/hagiography sub serving the purpose of any political party or any individual entity connected to it, which is intended to, or which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections, should not be displayed in electronic media including cinematograph during the operation of model code of conduct”.

Bhartiya Janata Party on 24th April, 2019 wrote a letter to the Election Commission stating that the poll panel should review Mamata Banerjee’ biopic “Baghini” before its released. The letter stated that “This is to draw your attention to the news in the media that a biopic allegedly of Mamata Banerjee will be released on May 3, 2019 [named Baghini],”. The EC has asked for a report on the same matter from West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer over the biopic.

Denying that she had any connection with a feature film reportedly made on her life, the West Bengal chief minister warned that she may be forced to file defamation suit against those spreading such rumours.

MADRAS HIGH COURT VACATES THE BAN ON TIKTOK IN INDIA

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court vacated the ban on Tik Tok in India imposed by it earlier, on the condition that sexually explicit material will not be uploaded to the platform and that it will address any content-related complaint in three to 36 hours, failing which contempt of court proceedings would begin.

On 22nd April the apex court directed to the Madras High Court to decide on the question of interim relief for TikTok, and in failing to do so would render the interim order as null and void. Amicus Curie to the Court Adv Arvind Datar submitted to the court that banning the app is not the solution and that the rights of the legitimate user must be protected. The argument was raised on the backdrop of Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India, that the ban is a violation of online free speech guaranteed as a fundamental right.

On 3rd April, the Madurai bench passed an ex-parte order directing the Government to ban the popular application. It had observed that the application is dangerous for children in view of inappropriate contents including language and pornography being posted in the application. Later, Bytedance (India) Technology Pvt. Ltd., which owns the mobile application, filed a special leave petition against the Madurai bench order directing the Government to ban the application. The Apex Court had referred the matter back to the Madras High Court.

POLICE COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST SALMAN KHAN

A police complaint has been filed against Bollywood star Salman Khan for snatching a journalist’s mobile phone while he was trying to shoot a video of the actor. The complaint was filed at the D.N. Nagar Police Station, Andheri West, Mumbai, on Wednesday evening by journalist Ashok Shyamlal Pandey. According to Pandey, he and his cameraman Syed Irrfan were travelling from Juhu to Kandivali when they saw Salman riding a bicycle. They asked the star’s bodyguard if they can make a video of the actor. The bodyguard agreed. However they claim that Salman Khan snatched their mobile phones and left. While the journalists were dialling 100, Salman’s bodyguards returned their phone.

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