IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (DECEMBER 23-29)

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KARNATAKA HIGH COURT REFUSES TO STAY RELEASE OF THE FILM ‘GOOD NEWWZ’ IN A PIL FILED AGAINST THE FILM

In a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Mr. Sameem Raza against the Central Board of Film Certification and others, the division bench of the High Court of Karnataka presided by Hon’ble Justice Krishna S Dixit and Hon’ble Justice M. Nagaprasanna refused to grant stay on the release of the film ‘Good Newwz’ starring Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Diljeet Dosanjh, Kiara Advani and others.

Dharma Productions, its representatives and Cape of Good Films were also made respondents to the PIL. Essel Vision Productions Limited (Zee Studios) who are the distributors of the film filed an impleadment application to be arrayed as a party respondent in the PIL as the distribution rights of the film have been granted to them for the film.

The grievance of the petitioner was that the contents of the film are trying to create confusion in the mind of patients who have already taken the service of assisted pregnancy in the centers other than Indira IVF centers and is bound to create confusion regarding paternity of the child of a patient and the same may affect such families.  The Petitioner further contended that the contents of the film are virtually forcing and coxing the patients to take service only with the Indira IVF centers and that the content also indirectly declare the possibility of mixing or exchanging the sperms in the centers other than Indira IVF centers. The petitioner claimed that the visuals and the words spoken in the film affects human sensibilities and the public order is endangered. The Petitioner contended that the film involves defamation of other IVF centers in India and the process tends to scorn, disgrace or disregard or undermine the dignity of those centers. The Petitioner sought relief of writ of prohibition forbidding or stopping the intending release and screening of the movie “Good Newwz” in the theatres across the country on December 27, 2019 along with other reliefs.

Counsel for Zee Studios submitted that Zee Studios needs to be impleaded on the ground that they are the distributors and have substantial rights over the movie. Further that nothing else could be considered at this juncture. Court accepted the argument and allowed the impleadment application with a direction to the Petitioner’s counsel to amend the petition by the next date.

After hearing the arguments of the parties, the court refused to grant any stay on the release of the film and posted the matter for further hearing on first week of January, 2020.

WRITER MOVES BOMBAY HIGH COURT AGAINST ‘CHHAPAAK’, SEEKS CREDIT FOR STORY

‘Chhapaak’ starring Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey is based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. Rakesh Bharti, a writer, has approached the Bombay High Court claiming that he is the original author of the acid attack survivor’s story on which the film is based and should be given credit as one of the writer of the film.

In the suit, Bharti claims that he conceived the idea/script for the movie and tentatively titled it Black Friday. He also got it registered with the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ (IMPPA) in February 2015.

Bharti said that he approached several artists and producers, including Fox Star Studio which is the studio for ‘Chhapaak’, for narration. However, he could not commence the project due to unavoidable circumstances.

The Plaintiff claimed that he later came to know that Fox Star Studio was producing an identical film which was being directed by Meghna Gulzar. Bharti also submitted complaints to the producer but after not getting any reply he approached the high court.

In his plea, Bharti claims that the release of the movie should be stayed until he is given due credit as one of the writer of the film and an expert should be appointed to compare his script with that of ‘Chhapaak’.

The matter is next listed on January 7, 2020. The film is slated for release on January 10, 2020.

PPL, IPRS, NOVEX obtain orders seeking injunction against hotels/ event organizers playing music sans license.

PPL obtained an order from the Bombay High Court which can be accessed here. Single Bench of Justice R D Dhanuka continued an interim relief sought by Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), a performing rights organisation, thereby restraining several hotels including Hotel Hilton and other pubs, restaurants in the State from playing recordings of popular film and non-film music under the control of PPL. In the 2019  order the court, considering the ad-interim orders passed in 2018 and the fact that no appeal is preferred by any of the defendants, continued  the ad-interim relief granted in 2018 for Christmas and new year during the pendency of the notices of motion.

Novex Communications also obtained an order from the Bombay High Court against several hotels and pubs in the state restricting them from playing Bollywood music, licenses of which are vested with Novex. Order can be accessed here.

Similarly, the Indian Performing Rights Society on 19th December, 2019, obtained a favourable order from Madras High Court available here.

DREAM 11 SAGA CONCLUDED AS SUPREME COURT DEALS WITH SLPs FILED AGAINST BOMBAY HC ORDER

Earlier this year, the Bombay HC had held that Dream 11 Saga, a fantasy sporting game, does not qualify as gambling/betting and hence, would not attract application of penal provisions. The two-judge bench had reasoned their decision on account of the game demanding application of skill, and not merely based on luck. Along with this, the Bench had also determined that Dream 11 Saga did not indulge in GST evasion, as the game does not qualify as gambling or betting. The Order of the Bombay HC can be found here.

Recently, the SC heard and dismissed the SLPs filed before it in this matter. The SC did not interfere with Bombay HC’s Order and went on to agree with how the game did not qualify as gambling. However, the SC did allow the Union of India to file a review petition before the Bombay HC, to enable the averments made with respect to GST evasion be heard afresh. With this judgment, legality of fantasy sports in India is conclusively determined. The order of the SC can be found here.

FIR ON RAVEENA, FARAH AND BHARTI FOR ‘TRIVIALISING HALLELUJAH’

Punjab police booked Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon, director Farah Khan and comedian Bharti Singh under Section 295-A of the IPC for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of Christians during a show webcast on the internet.

The trio is believed to have said something questionable during Farah’s YouTube comedy show, The Backbenchers, that did not go down well with certain members of the Christian community.

First, a protest was organised on Christmas Day in Anjala, Amritsar, by the Christian community. Following which, an FIR was registered by the Punjab Police, after they had thoroughly examined the video.

According to Amritsar (rural) SSP Vikram Jeet Duggal, Sonu Jafar, president of the Christian Samaj Front filed a Complaint after which the case was registered in Ajnala town of Amritsar district. The police have started investigations and sent a clipping of the show to forensic lab for examination.

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