IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (JULY 1-7)

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ARTICLE 15: UTTARAKHAND HIGH COURT CRITICIZES SUB DIVISIONAL MAGISTRATE’S ORDER, DIRECTS POLICE AUTHORITIES TO ENSURE SMOOTH SCREENING OF THE FILM

The Uttarakhand High Court while hearing a petition filed by the makers of the film ‘Article 15’, on July 5, 2019 observed that the order dated June 28, 2019 passed by Sub Divisional Magistrate, Roorkee banning the screening of film is arbitrary. Read order here.

The counsel appearing for the government informed the court that the SDM’s order has been withdrawn. However, the counsel appearing for Essel Vision Production Ltd, the petitioner, informed the Court that the film was still not being screened in a number of cinema halls in Roorkee and Haridwar and the ban was in effect though lifted formally. At this, the standing counsel assured the Court that instructions will be given to police authorities to ensure that no obstruction is caused to the screening of the movie.

Recording this, the Court ordered the matter to be listed again on July 8 and further granted liberty to the petitioner to bring it to its knowledge any hardship or obstruction faced in screening of the film in Roorkee, Haridwar.

MRF LIMITED VS METRO TYRES LIMITED: DELHI HIGH COURT RULES THAT THE RIGHT TO MAKE A COPY OF A FILM UNDER SECTION 14(d)(i) IS NOT LIMITED TO MAKING A PHYSICAL COPY BUT ALSO A SUBSTANTIAL COPY

The Delhi High Court on July 1, 2019 has held that a film owner’s right ”to make a copy of the film” guaranteed under section 14(d)(i) includes the right to make a “physical or a mechanical copy” of the film by a process of duplication as well as “substantial copy” of the film. This decision is sided with Calcutta High Court’s view in Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt. Ltd. vs. Vipul Amrutlal Shah & Ors., but opposed Bombay High court’s   decision in Star India vs Leo Burnett.  This decision opens up a path for the producer or owners of the Cinematograph film to claim a copyright infringement of the films to include not just complete duplication of the work/mechanical copy but also substantial/material copy as well under section 14 (d) of the Act. As opposed to earlier such infringement will be an infringement of the film and not individual components.

GUJARAT HIGH COURT DISPOSES OF PETITION FILED BY INDIAN PSYCHIATRIC SOCIETY AGAINST THE TITLE OF THE FILM ‘MENTAL HAI KYA’

The Gujarat high court on July 3, 2019 disposed of a PIL filed by the Indian Psychiatric Society taking exception to depiction of people with mental illness in the coming Kangana Ranaut and Rajkumar Rao-starrer ‘Mental Hai Kya’. The High Court disposed of the PIL after the petitioner said it had no objection after the producers changed the name of the film from ‘Mental Hai Kya’ to ‘Judgemental Hai Kya’. The filmmakers informed the Court that they have made changes in the film based on suggestions made by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The filmmakers told the court that they have already changed the name of the film in the trailer that has been released. The Court accordingly disposed of the petition.

BOMBAY HIGH COURT LASHES OUT AT CBFC, SAYS IT HAS NO AUTHORITY TO DECIDE WHAT ONE WANTS TO WATCH AND SEE

While hearing a petition filed by Children’s Film Society India (CFSI), a nodal organisation under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that produces children’s films and various TV programs in various Indian languages, seeking grant of universal (U) certificate to a children’s film Chidiakhana, the Division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice GS Patel lashed out at CBFC.  CBFC had asked CFSI to mute a word from a scene in the movie and also delete a particular scene from the film. CFSI agreed to make the said changes in June and Court asked CBFC for a response thereafter, to which the CBFC submitted that the film showed violence, discrimination against a community and hence the content mandates a U/A certificate. A U/A certificate requires adult supervision of kids below the age of 12 in order to be able to watch the said film which ironically is a children’s film.

As per reports, Justice Patel observed- “You (CBFC) are a certification board and not a censor board. You will not decide what one wants to watch and see. Nobody has given CBFC the intellectual morality and authority to decide what one wants to watch and see. You Will Not Decide What One Wants To Watch, You Are A Certification Board Not Censor Board. Court noted that films can be used to explain issues like caste discrimination, drug addiction etc to children. Justice Patel questioned the CBFC’s stand on the issue and asked- “Are you ostriches? You put your head in the sand and pretend something does not exist!” Court then referred to the Udta Punjab controversy and observed that the CBFC had not learnt its lesson- “You are forming an opinion that the whole population is infantile and imbecile and you are the only one with an iota of intelligence to decide for everyone.” Thus, the bench directed the CBFC’s Regional Officer to file an affidavit and in it elaborate on the CBFC’s policy for certification of children’s films. The matter will now be heard on August 5

WRITER SARAH ABOOBAKKER WINS PLAGIARISM CASE AGAINST MAKERS OF NATIONAL AWARD WINNING MOVIE ‘BYARI’.

Kannada Writer, Sarah Aboobakker has filed case of plagiarism against the makers of Swarn Kamal Award winning movie Byari for her famed work Chandragiriya Teeradalli , the first movie ever made in Beary Language. She claimed the filmmakers have used the story without her permission. However, the Court passed the Judgement in favour of Aboobakker and upheld her contention that there was an infringement of Intellectual Property Rights. The Court directed the filmmaker to pay compensation along with the interest.

PUNJAB WOMEN COMMISSION DEMANDS BAN ON RAPPER HONEY SINGH’S UPCOMING SONG.

The Punjab Women Commission panel has taken a strong action against   Contoversial Rapper Honey Singh for his upcoming song ‘ Makhana’ in Siddharth Malhotra starrer ‘Marjawa’ due to vulgar and irreverent language used for Women. They have send a letter to Punjab government, Director General of Police and home secretary to take action against this song. The Committee is hopeful of setting a benchmark so singers and songwriters do not make songs that disrespect women and get superior authorities support like State Government.

MADRAS HIGH COURT STAYS RELEASE OF TAMIL FILM KALAVANI 2

While hearing a contractual dispute between film financer J.Jayakumar against A. Sargunam, director of Tamil film Kalavani 2, starring Vimal and Oviya, which was  scheduled to be released on July 5, from releasing the movie, Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana granted the interim injunction on the release of the film.

The plaintiff claimed that he was a financier and co-producer of the film Kalavani 2. As per the film financing agreement between him and Sargunam, he was to fund a sum of `60 lakh amounting to 20 per cent of the picture’s overall budget. Accordingly, he had advanced aggregate sum of Rs.67.38 lakh, which was the principal amount, in instalments in the phased manner, which has also been acknowledged by the producer. The principal amount was to be repaid one week before the scheduled release of the movie or such other date required by the financier and Co-producer. It was also agreed that the producer shall have the right to negotiate and enter into agreements pertaining to sale, assignment, license any or all rights in the picture with any third party, only with the pre-approval by the financier and Co-producer, he added. However, despite the said clause the producer fixed the release date of the film as July 5 without returning the advances to the film financer and without his consent.

The judge found prima facie case to have been made out and the balance of convenience in favour of the applicant. Accordingly, granted injunction on the defendant from releasing, selling, exploiting, alienating, transferring, parting with the possession or ownership or any rights of, dealing with, disposing of, inducting any one into or developing or creating any third party right or interest of whatsoever nature in any manner whatsoever in respect of the film-Kalavani 2 starring Vimal and Oviya till July 10”.

SC REJECTS TIK TOK’S PLEA FOR TRANSFERRING THE CASE FROM MADRAS HC

The Supreme Court refused to allow the plea of Bytedance Technology- the Indian operator and marketer of the TikTok app- to transfer the case pending against it in the Madras High Court to itself. After the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was of the view that all questions including that pertaining to the freedom of speech and expression can be answered by the High Court, liberty was sought to withdraw the petition. 

DELHI HIGH COURT REJECTS DABUR’S PLEA TO STOP EMAMI’S CHYAVANPRASHAD ADVERTISEMENTS

In a suit filed by Dabur seeking injunction against Emami’s advertisements on the ground that the same were disparaging and injurious to the goodwill and reputation of its product, Chyawanprash, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea by Dabur observing that courts should not stifle innovation and fair competition.

The Court observed that while making a comparison, a competitor could declare his goods to be the best in the world even if untrue. However, one could not say that the competitor’s goods were bad.

It also recorded that the declaration in the Chyavanprashad advertisement to the effect that Chyawanprash contained more than 50% sugar was factually correct.

“The Courts should not stifle innovation and fair competition. If the Defendant claims that its product solves the needs of the present times where public is shunning sugar based products, it should be allowed to inform the public about the same. It claims that sugar free product achieves the same level of efficacy without the harmful or negative effect of sugar, if any. The Court should not restrain the Defendant, merely because the stakeholders in the industry feel that advertisement is hurting them.”

In view of the above, the Court concluded that there were no grounds to restrain Emami from publishing the advertisements.

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