IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (DECEMBER 2-8)

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NO STAY ON ‘PANIPAT’S’ RELEASE; BOMBAY HC REFUSES TO GRANT RELIEF IN A PLEA BY MARATHI AUTHOR VISHWAS PATIL AGAINST THE FILM

 A Marathi author Vishwas Patil had filed a lawsuit in Bombay high court against Ashutosh Gowariker’s upcoming release ‘ Panipat’ starring Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon in lead roles. The film is based on the third battle of Panipat that took place between the Marathas and the army of Afghan king Abdul Shah Abdali. In the plea, the Plaintiff had accused the producers of adapting his 1988 book of the same name without his consent. The Bombay high court has refused to grant interim relief against the stay of the film. The Single Judge Bench of Justice S C Gupte refused to grant the relief by stating that depiction of Maratha warriors in a positive light is not copyrightable. He also mentioned that the complainant can’t just walk up to the court and say that he has an apprehension. The request of having a private screening by Mr. Patil of the film before its release was also rejected.

VIJAY’S ‘BIGIL’ AMAZON PRIME RELEASE STALLED BY HYDERABAD COURT   

The Tamil film starring Vijay and Nayanthara was expected to premiere on Amazon Prime on December 13. A Hyderabad civil court has issued an interim injunction order not allowing the digital release of the film. The film’s Telugu version, Whistle, will also not be available for digital release. The court issued the order after Hyderabad based filmmaker Nandi Chinni Kumar filed a lawsuit against the film’s director Atlee and actor Vijay, also including the film’s producers, stating they have violated an agreement which he had signed with slum football player Akhilesh Paul. Kumar had also petitioned the Telangana Cinema Writers Association in September this year citing “copyright infringement”. According to Kumar, the film Bigil, which was first named Thalapathy 63, has striking resemblances with the life story of slum football player Akhilesh Paul. Kumar said that he had acquired the exclusive copyrights of Paul’s biography in 2018. The filmmaker had requested the court to issue an injunction on theatrical release and satellite release too, interim injunction was issued only on the digital release of the film. The order reads, “In the result the interim order granted and the respondent No. 8 (Amazon India/ Amazon Prime) is restrained from uploading and streaming the film Bigil/Whistle in YouTube or other modes of broadcasting system until further orders of court”. 

MISUSE OF NATIONAL EMBLEMS TO BE PUNISHED BY JAIL, RS 5 LAKH FINE

The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, is an Act which restricts the use of the national flag, the coat-of-arms used by a government department, the official seal of the President or Governor, the pictorial representation of Mahatma Gandhi and the Prime Minister, and the Ashoka Chakra. The government has proposed increasing the fine for illegal and improper use of national emblems for commercial gains from Rs 500 to Rs 1 lakh — the suggested change also includes jail time and a fine of Rs 5 lakh for repeat offenders, in an attempt to bring down on their misuse. The other change being considered is that in case there is a prosecution, the burden to prove that the alleged contravention or alteration was lawfully authorized shall be on the violator as of now, that burden to prove the same is on the state. The Department of Consumer Affairs has placed its recommendations to amend the law on its official website and invited public views till December 20. Under section 3 of the Act no person can commercially use any government trademark or design, name, emblem, official seal or pictorial representation or any colourable imitation of the same, without Centre’s previous permission. The law is applicable to Indian citizens living abroad too.

UNION CABINET APPROVES PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION BILL, TO BE INTRODUCED IN THE UPCOMING SESSION.

The Union Cabinet has approved the Personal Data Protection Bill for introduction in the current session of Parliament, as announced by Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar in a press conference. The decision was taken at the Union Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Javadekar said that data protection is a global issue, and the Bill looks at how India’s and people’s interests will be protected in an efficient manner. The draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, was released by the Justice Srikrishna Committee under MeitY in July 2018 for public consultation, after nine months of deliberation and consultation. The draft bill is India’s first step towards a privacy framework, and sets a framework for the governance of personal data. It prescribes conditions for how organisations should receive, handle, and process individuals’ personal data in India. The Indian government has pushed the narrative of data as an economic asset, ‘national resource’, and a public good. This caused MeitY’s forming of a Committee to work and formulate a data governance framework for Non Personal Data (NPD).

HIGH COURT ISSUE NOTICES TO PRASOON JOSHI, GIPPY GREWAL ON CONTEMPT PLEA

Around two months after the Punjab and Haryana High Court directing the blurring of a bank’s name before the release of Punjabi movie ‘Daaka’, the court issued notice of motion on a contempt petition to CBFC Chairperson Prasoon Joshi, actor Gippy Grewal and another respondent. The petition was filed by Punjab Gramin Bank alleging wilful disobedience of order dated October 28. The petitioner alleged that the respondents disobeyed the directions issued by the High Court and released the movie without blurring the objectionable scenes. In its petition before the Bench of Justice Arun Monga, the bank had sought directions to the respondents against releasing the movie mainly on the ground that it was depicted in a poor and insecure condition which led to the plot of committing a robbery in the bank in the movie. Justice Monga said that the court, prima facie, was of opinion that the writ petition was filed after taking an oversensitive view.  It was brought to the Bench’s notice that bank’s permission was not taken before displaying the name, logo, banners and calendars in the movie. The petitioner also stated that the name of the sponsored bank i.e. Punjab National Bank, also found mention below the name of the petitioner bank, but that was intentionally blurred in the scenes.

 

SHREE KRISHNA INTERNATIONAL FILM PRODUCTIONS VS. GOOGLE INDIA AND YOUTUBE LLC:

After an eight year-long copyright battle, Suneel Darshan, proprietor of the Shree Krishna International film production company, has won a copyright infringement suit against Google India and YouTube LLC.  The District court of Gurgaon has awarded damages of Rs. 50,000 in favor of the production company and has restrained Google and YouTube from displaying the disputed content on its platform. The allegation on the part of the petitioners, as reported by the Economic Times was concerned with various sound recordings, cinematograph films and audio-visual songs which were alleged to have been reproduced on the defendants platform without an authorization or a license in lieu of the same. The stand of the defendant, according to the report was based on the core argument of them merely being an intermediary platform for communication and storage of information without charge, and that they had no prior knowledge of such content being infringing content, with them not being capable of evaluating every user generated or user uploaded content for infringement on their own and apply filters with respect to the same. The court has been reported to have noted that the defendant (YouTube) was supposed to take down the content after being informed of the supposed infringement by the plaintiffs to be immune from secondary liability, under the Information Technology Act and Rules thereunder, however the stance of the defendant stating that the proper take-down request procedure, with specifications of the specific URL’s which are being claimed to have been infringing, was not complied with or produced, is not sufficient to render this claim of infringement invalid. The court has also reportedly stated that the defendant by virtue of being aware of the title of the content had the burden upon itself to locate the URL’s and take down the allegedly infringing content.

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