IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (JANUARY 13-19)

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“SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY NOT TO PUBLISH HARMFUL OR OFFENSIVE CONTENT”, BOMBAY HC DIRECTS VLOGGER TO REMOVE PARACHUTE OIL VIDEO

The Bombay HC passed an interim injunction order against a social media influencer, Abhijeet Bhansali, going by the user name, Bearded Chokra to remove a video containing his critique on Parachute Oil from the internet, which was considered to be defamatory and disparaging. The Court observed that such influencers irrespective of their audience size have a great impact on the minds of common people. The plaintiff, Marico Limited had filed the suit against the defendant seeking to restrain him from publishing or broadcasting the video titled ‘Is Parachute Coconut Oil 100% Pure?’  The plaintiffs contended that the video provided incorrect information, was deceptive, and did not qualify as a “general review” of product as the defendant promoted competing products in the video. The defendant on the other hand claimed lack of intention to malign, presence of bona fide intention to educate consumers, and freedom of speech under Art. 19. The defendant, on account of his status as a social media influencer, was held to be a person demanding more accountability than a member of general public. The Court noted that the defendant had a higher responsibility to ensure that his statements do not mislead the public and that he is disseminating correct information. The video was also held to be made in malice and disparaging. Read order here.

 

KARNATAKA HIGH COURT DISMISSES PETITION BY FILM BODIES AGAINST CCI

The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition by several film bodies including the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) challenging the authority of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) under the Competition Act 2002. As per reports, the High Court has said that it cannot prevent a legal body from performing its duties. The Kannada film industry has had a very unsavoury experience with the CCI over the last few years having lost cases there including on the dubbing issue. The KFCC, the Karnataka Film Directors Association (KANFIDA), the Karnataka Film Workers Artists Technicians Federation (Kfed) and the Kannada Chalanchitra Sangeethagarara Sangha (KCSS) had filed the petition against the CCI, Reliance Big Entertainment, UTV Software Communications, Reliance Media Works and the FICCI Multiplex Association of India. The film bodies sought a prohibition against CCI from exercising its jurisdiction under the Competition Act. Their advocate submitted that the validity of several Sections of the Act were under challenge before the Supreme Court but no orders have been passed so far.

 

MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING PROPOSES TO AMEND THE CABLE TELEVISION ACT

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has asked for suggestions/feedback from the general public and stakeholders on the draft ‘Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020. The proposed amendments include increased penalty for violation of Programme and Advertising Code. The Central Government may specify the names of Doordarshan channels or the channels operated by or on behalf of Parliament, to be mandatorily carried by the cable operators in their cable service and the manner of reception and re-transmission of such channels.

The proposed Bill can be viewed here.

 

RAJINIKANTH’S ‘DARBAR’ TELECAST ON TV CHANNEL DAYS AFTER RELEASE, LYCA PRODUCTIONS FILES COMPLAINT

Lyca Productions, the producers of Rajinikanth’s Darbar,  lodged a police complaint seeking action against a local cable television channel for illegally telecasting the film that was released a week ago. Stating that this is a huge blow to the producers and distributors who were involved in the production of the movie, Lyca Productions asked the police to take strict action against those who were engaged in the piracy of the movie.

MADRAS HC DIRECTS GOVT TO DECIDE ON PIL SEEKING FREE SPORTS STREAMING ON DD PLATFORMS

 The Madras High Court bench consisting Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad, while hearing a PIL, directed the Central Government to take a decision on whether the Sports Act, 2007 can be amended to allow Doordarshan to stream sporting events of national importance on it’s Over The Top (OTT) platforms.

The Sports Broadcast Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Rules, 2007 require sports broadcasters to provide the feed of sporting events of national importance to Prasar Bharati for free re-transmission on the public broadcaster’s terrestrial and direct to home (DTH) platforms.

The bench ordered officials to take an appropriate decision supported by “cogent and plausible reasons preferably within three months”, as it was a clear subject of policy decision to be undertaken by the government after examining various factors.

PIL filed by a Mumbai-based sound engineer Aditya Modi contended that citizens having access to the internet were being denied access to sports events of national importance because of the restriction in the sports broadcasting law.

SPOTIFY AND WARNER CHAPPELL SIGN GLOBAL LICENSING DEAL – INCLUDING INDIA

Warner Chappell and Spotify announced a global licensing agreement which includes India. Warner Chappell confirmed in a statement that it had signed a fresh multi-territory licensing agreement with Spotify which includes India, and that therefore the parties have jointly asked the High Court to dismiss the pending litigation.

Warner Chappel had dragged Spotify to the Bombay High Court last year. In the litigation going on between the two parties, Spotify had contested that its use of Chappell’s catalog was protected by a statutory licence in India – one that had been previously applied to radio broadcasters; Warner had argued that this contention was invalid, and that an injunction should be granted banning Spotify from using its music and additionally a payment of damages.

AAP: CLAIMING COPYRIGHT ON RELAY OF ‘GURBANI’ AMOUNTS TO SACRILEGE

Senior AAP leader and Kotkapura legislator, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, said that terming the broadcast of Gurbani Kirtan from Golden Temple by PTC channel, owned by the Badal family, as their personal property possessed at a price, had deeply hurt the religious sentiments of millions of Sikhs across the world.

The MLA demanded that the Jathedar of Akal Takht should direct SGPC to initiate action against the individual or company, which was trying to monopolize the broadcast of Sarb Sanjhi Gurbani and let the ‘sangat’ enjoy the divine renderings unhindered. He added that the management of the SGPC should be freed from the Badals and entrusted to those who could restore it to its old glory.

There is already a controversy raging in the state on whether a particular company can be given the exclusive rights to telecast the live transmission of Gurbani from the Golden Temple. The Congress has also levelled accusations that since the PTC channel is owned by the Badal family, the SGPC has given the channel undue favours by giving it sole right for transmission. The PTC Channel has refuted these allegations and has asserted that the rights have been given to their company through a valid agreement signed with the SGPC.

Suspended AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu said that the original agreement between SGPC and a private channel, ETC, had been signed by Jagir Kaur, the then president of SGPC. Sandhu said that no tenders had been floated while awarding a 10-year contract for the telecast rights to PTC in 2012.

 

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