IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (AUGUST 5-11)

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BOMBAY HIGH COURT PAVES WAY FOR RELEASE OF MISSION MANGAL

As per reports, the Bombay High Court on August 9 refused to stay the release of the Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Mission Mangal in a copyright infringement and breach of confidentiality suit filed by US based filmmaker Radha Bharadwaj. The plaintiff who is making a film ‘Space Moms’ based on women scientists of ISRO, had alleged that Ellipsis Entertainment had shared her script with Vidya Balan, one of the Mission Mangal actresses, who in turn, leaked it to R. Balki. She further alleged that her film was not getting buyers because of the Mission Mangal and sought damages to the tune of INR 90 Lacs for breach of confidentiality.

After hearing the arguments, the Court was of the view that the plaintiff failed to make a proper case for ad interim reliefs and added that it’s not possible to allege copyright infringement by attempting to draw similarities between the script of Space Moms (which was not submitted before the Court) and the trailer of Mission Mangal. The Court further took into account the delay by the plaintiff in volunteering to bring her script to the forefront considering she had filed her suit last year. The court took into account the release of the film and denied any injunctive reliefs.

A PLEA FILED IN THE DELHI HIGH COURT SEEKING A STAY ON THE RELEASE OF FILM BATLA HOUSE

A movie titled ‘Batla House’, directed by Nikhil Advani and starring John Abraham, is based on the alleged police encounter that took place in Delhi in the wake of the serial blasts of 2008.

The Batla House case was an encounter carried out by the Delhi Police in September 2008 wherein two terrorists had been killed and one police officer sacrificed his life and two terrorists escaped the sight of the encounter and had later been arrested and their trial is ongoing. These terrorists are alleged members of Indian Mujahideen terror organization who was the mastermind behind all the serial blasts that happened in Delhi in the year 2008 and the same is ascertained from an e-mail sent by them immediately after the serial attacks wherein they took the credit for all the attacks.

As per reports, Ariz Khan and Shehzad Ahmad, who are accused in the Batla House Encounter case, had filed a plea in the Delhi High Court, seeking a stay on the release of the film on the ground that the events portrayed in the film will prejudice the trial especially as there has been an effort to connect the incidents of Batla House and the Delhi serial blasts. The plea also mentioned for a pre-screening of the movie.

Before the matter came up for hearing, the petitioners were given the opportunity to watch the movie and thus the Court directed them to note down their objections against the movie and submit it to the Court.

The Advocate on behalf of the Producer of the movie informed the Court that even though the movie is based on incident of Batla House encounter case, nothing in the movie suggests that it was the petitioners who were being shown as accused/terrorists.

The Court clarified that if the film has a tendency to prejudice or affect the trial of the Petitioners, it will have to be stayed. The next hearing date of the case is August 13.

Meanwhile, as per reports, in an appeal, the division bench declined to stay the release of the film.

BOMBAY HIGH COURT ASKS CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CERTIFICATION IF CERTIFICATION RULES ARE AS PER CURRENT TIMES FOR CHILDREN’S FILMS

The Children’s Film Society India, an organization under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which produces children’s films and various TV programs in various Indian languages, had filed a plea in the Bombay High Court seeking to grant U Certification to a children’s movie titled Chidiakhana. The film has been granted U/A certification by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). A U/A certified movie means that adult supervision is required while watching the movie for children below twelve years of age.

While hearing of the aforementioned plea, the CBFC told the Court that there were 13 violent scenes in the film, and unless they were removed, the film could not get a U Certificate. The filmmaker’s Advocate informed the Court that the scenes, as mentioned by the CBFC, brought out the struggle of the youngster who came to Mumbai to fulfil his dream of becoming a footballer and hence could not be deleted. Furthermore, the filmmaker’s advocate submitted that the violence portrayed was a regular sight in the city’s slums and there was nothing objectionable in the scenes.

As reported by a leading newspaper, the film maker’s advocate, while answering the query raised by the Court about the certification given to Hollywood movies such as Avengers or Spiderman which were targeted towards children, stated that they were given U/A certification, however the violence portrayed in those films was of a science-fiction nature and hence could not be compared to Chidiakhana.

The Bombay High Court further asked the CBFC whether they would change or continue with their standards for children’s film, considering that the children born after 2000 were exposed to influences such as mobile phones and internet. The next hearing date is 14th August, 2019.

MADRAS HIGH COURT PREVENTS WEBSITES FROM UPLOADING PIRATED VERSION OF THE MOVIE ‘NERKONDA PAARVAI’

The Madras High Court directed 37 Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the country to prohibit 1,129 websites from uploading pirated or unauthorized versions of Tamil movie starring Ajith Kumar titled as ‘Nerkonda Paarvai’. This movie is a remake of the movie Pink which starred Amitabh Bachchan.

Bayview Projects LLP, represented by Boney Kapoor, the producer of the captioned movie, filed a plea to restrain the ISPs from permitting such websites from uploading or displaying the pirated versions of the movie.

The Advocate on behalf of Bayview Projects submitted that the Producer has acquired all exploitation, distribution and other rights, including TV and internet and that these rights are exclusive under the provisions of the Copyright Act.

The counsel on behalf of Bayview Projects further stated that various cable and internet services provided by ISPs across the world are involved in recording, camcording and reproducing audio songs, audio-visual clips and cinematographic films that are screened in theatres and then copying or reproducing them through various mediums. These recordings are then distributed by selling them at a meagre sum to the general public without any leave or authorization from the production houses or copyright holders and such activities result in heavy losses and damage to production houses.

The next hearing date is August 20.

CONSUMER PROTECTION BILL, 2019 – MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENT AND CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS.

The Parliament passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 under which the Central Government would establish a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of the consumers. It would be the regulator on national level and would deal with matters relating to violation of rights of consumers, unfair trade practices and false or misleading advertisements.

Misleading advertisements are those advertisements which give a false description or a false guarantee of the product or service such as to the nature, substance, quantity or quality of the product or service which is likely to mislead the consumer while making a purchase decision. It also includes those advertisements wherein important information is deliberately concealed from the consumer.

An example of misleading advertisement is the advertisement for Maggi, a Nestle product, which in the advertisement claimed to be healthy and a fast option for children. However when the samples of Maggi were collected and tested, it showed monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead in excess of the prescribed limit in the instant noodles, and thus the advertisement was found to be misleading as Maggi was not healthy.

The Bill grants the power to the CCPA to impose a penalty upto rupees 10 lakh as a penalty for misleading advertisements. Furthermore, it has also been made an offence under the Act which would attract a punishment upto 5 years of imprisonment and a fine upto rupees 50 lakh.

The Bill further also mentions about liability of the celebrity endorsers. Celebrity endorsement means recognized individuals associate their recognition, fame and image with consumer goods or with organizations’ brands by promoting such brands through their appearance in commercials or advertisements.

According to the Bill, the endorser can be levied a penalty upto rupees 10 lakh by the CCPA for false and misleading advertisements. However the endorsers will not be liable if due diligence was exercised by them to verify the correctness of the claims made in the advertisements of the product or service being endorsed by them.

DELHI HIGH COURT DIRECTS SNAPDEAL TO DELIST COUNTERFEIT WATCHES

Titan Company had filed a civil lawsuit in Delhi High Court against certain sellers and Snapdeal, alleging that they were selling counterfeit/infringing Fastrack watches on Snapdeal. It also alleged that Snapdeal did not take down various listings of counterfeit Fastrack/Titan branded watches despite being notified about these by Titan.

The Delhi High Court granted the Tata Group Company, Titan, an ad-interim relief against Snapdeal and two other e-tailers restraining them from selling, marketing or otherwise dealing in goods bearing the marks Titan and Fastrack of Titan.

Snapdeal was further ordered to remove the Uniform Resource Locators (URL) as mentioned in the complaint lodged by Titan Company with Snapdeal within 24 hours of receiving the court order. It was also directed in event of any further complaints raised by Titan company about URL’s selling counterfeit goods of Titan, such URL’s should also be removed immediately

As per reports, Snapdeal has an anti-counterfeiting program, Brand Shield, which provides brands with a single-point contact to ask for the takedown of identified listings in a structured manner. However, it was alleged that Snapdeal did not remove the counterfeit products prior to the order, which showcases lapse in its Brand Shielding mechanism. The next date for the matter is 23rd August.

DELHI HIGH COURT REJECTS PLEA FILED AGAINST RELEASE OF THE FILM ‘KHANDANI SHAFAKHANA’

The Delhi High Court vide its order dated July 29, 2019 dismissed the suit filed against release of the film KHANDANI SHAFAKHANA’. The Plaintiff had alleged that the title of the film infringed the trademark of the business run by his family. Further that the film caused damage to the reputation of the plaintiff. The Court rejected the Plaintiff’s plea firstly as the trademark of the Plaintiff were not longer registered as per the Registry’s record. Secondly, the Plaintiff only had device mark registration. The Court rejected the passing off claim raised by the Plaintiff on the ground of non use of the mark since the last 18 years. The Court noted “The plaintiff cannot be entitled to relief on the grounds as urged, of there existing a possibility of the plaintiff and his family members coming together and reviving the said registration even, in the device mark which was earlier registered, or may agree to commence using the words “Khandani Shafakhana” which was not even registered. Else, 18 years is a long time for the memory to fade. 18 years, in the context of those in need of the professional services as sexologist offered by the plaintiff, constitutes a generation and none of the present patrons of the services offered by the plaintiff in other names for the last 18 years, will connect the plaintiff with the words “Khandani Shafakhana”.

NON-BAILABLE WARRANT ISSUED AGAINST HONEY SNGH IN A CASE OF OBSCENE LYRICS

As per reports, a non-bailable warrant has been issued against singer Yo Yo Honey Singh by a Lucknow court in a seven-year-old case lodged by IPS officer Amitabh Thakur.

The FIR was lodged against Honey Singh on December 31, 2012, at the Gomti Nagar police station. The complainant claimed that the lyrics of the song, Main hoon balaatkari, sung by Honey Singh, were derogatory and condemnable. The complainant added that the song in question was widely available on the internet

After investigation, the police registered a case against the singer on June 27 2013, under Sections 292, 293 and 294 of the IPC. The court had ordered the singer to appear before it on December 23, 2013 but Honey Singh did not take cognisance of the same.

The court has now asked the singer to appear before it on September 11, 2019.

 

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