(These highlights have been contributed by Harshil Dureja, Ujjawal Bhargava and Sudarshan Mohta)
TANDAV CASE: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO CONTENT HEAD APARNA PUROHIT GRANTED PROTECTION FROM ARREST BY SUPREME COURT; SC EXPRESSES DISSATISFACTION OVER IT RULES 2021
The Supreme Court on March 5 granted protection from arrest to India Head of Amazon Prime Video, Aparna Purohit in the case registered against her in connection with the web series ‘Tandav’. Supreme Court proceeded to issue notice to the government in the matter and protected Purohit from arrested subject to her cooperating with the investigating agency. The Apex court however remarked: The Court on Friday remarked that it found the regulations insufficient to govern the platforms and lacking teeth in view of absence of prosecution. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the government would prepare a draft law and submit before court for consideration.
BOMBAY HIGH COURT RESTRAINS AMAZON PRIME FROM EXHIBITING THE TELUGU FILM ‘V’ WITH IMAGES OF SAKSHI MALIK
In a defamation suit filed by model and actor Sakshi Malik against Venkateshwara Creations, Amazon Prime and other, the Bombay High Court vide order dated March 2, 2021 restrained Amazon Prime from telecasting the Telugu film “V” in all versions, irrespective of language and sub-titles, until such time as the 1st and 2nd Defendants have completely deleted all images of the Plaintiff from their Film. Justice Patel remarked “It is not acceptable for them to merely pixelate or blur the images. The entire sequence which has the image of the Plaintiff is to be removed immediately”
The Plaintiff objected the usage of the image and cited that it was wholly unauthorized invasion of privacy and unauthorized use of private material and further that the usage was defamatory in nature as the image has been unauthorizedly used to depict her in the motion picture as an escort or commercial sex worker. The Plaintiff thus sought damages for defamation and for a permanent injunction.
Justice Patel remarked “any right-thinking motion picture producer would have insisted on seeing an approval or consent by the model or person who is featured or to be featured. It would be standard procedure, and this would be true whether the issue is one of copyright in the photograph or of use with permission of an image of the model in question for a particular sequence. It is self-evident that it is not possible to use the image of any person for a commercial purpose without express written consent. If images are to be used without such express consent, they must be covered by some sort of legally enforceable and tenable licensing regime, whether with or without royalty”
BOMBAY HIGH COURT SAYS NON-IPC OFFENCES PUNISHABLE WITH “UP TO THREE YEARS”, WILL BE CATEGORISED AS COGNISABLE AND NON-BAILABLE.
While hearing a case under the Copyright Act, 1957, Trademarks Act, 1999 and other IPC sections, Justice Sarang Kotwal held, “Bare reading of this Part II of the Schedule -I of CrPC shows that, if the offences in the other laws are punishable with imprisonment for three years and upwards then the offences are cognizable and non bailable. Wherever it is possible to impose the punishment extending to three years, this category would apply, because in such offences it is possible to impose sentence of exact three years. In such cases offences would be non-bailable.” The case was pertaining to the anticipatory bail filed by a Piyush Ranipa, who apprehended arrest in a case pertaining mainly to copyright infringement and faking of trademark of the complainant company.
METROPOLITAN MAGISTRATE COURT ISSUES BAILABLE WARRANT OF RS. 1,000 AGAINST KANGANA RANAUT IN JAVED AKHTAR CASE
A Metropolitan Court of Bombay has issued a bailable warrant of Rs. 1,000 against actress Kangana Ranaut in the defamation complaint registered by the famous Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar. The warrant was issued because the actor failed to appear before the Court. Although Akhtar’s lawyer sought that a non-bailable warrant should be issued against the actor, however, the magistrate said, “However, keeping in view the nature of the litigation, it appears to me a harsh step.”
ADVERTISING STANDARD COUNCIL OF INDIA’S NEW GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS
ASCI recently issued new draft guidelines for social media influencers according to which, any kind of promotional post or collaboration with a brand is supposed to be specified and disclosed as such by the influencer. These guidelines will be applicable to all promotional posts published on or after 15th April 2021. These comprehensive guidelines cover all kind of posts from snapchat stories, to Instagram posts, YouTube content, etc. If an influencer fails to follow the guidelines, legal action can be taken against them as per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and the ASCI will issue a notice to both brand owner and influencer for violation of any guideline in the case of a consumer complaint or it will take a suo motu cognisance of a potentially objectionable advertisement.
DELHI AND KERALA HIGH COURT ISSUES NOTICE IN CHALLENGE TO THE RECENTLY INTRODUCED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INTERMEDIARY GUIDELINES
The Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were notified by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology last month. Subsequently, a petition challenging the vires of the said guidelines has been filed in the Delhi High Court by Foundation of Independent Journalism & Ors v. Union of India. The Delhi High Court on March 09, 2021 issued notice in this petition challenging the recently introduced intermediary guidelines. The Court will hear both the parties on the next hearing, April 16.
Further, in a petition filed by LiveLaw News Media Pvt. Ltd challenging the constitutional validity of the Rules, the Kerala high Court issued notice. A single bench of Justice PV Asha also restrained the Central Government from taking any coercive action against LiveLaw under Part III of the IT Rules which deal with digital media regulation.
BOMBAY HIGH COURT GRANTED INTERIM INJUNCTION TO ACTOR-PRODUER NIKHIL DWIVEDI
Kamal R. Khan, an actor and reality TV personality published certain allegedly defamatory tweets against the plaintiff (Nikhil Dwivedi) in September 2020 and again in January, 2021. In his tweets against Dwivedi, Khan also tagged the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department. It was argued that the tweets/ reviews published by Khan were ill intended and were published to sully the reputation of the plaintiff.
The Hon’ble Court recorded that prima facie case had been made out against Khan and thus granted an-interim injunction against Khan restraining the defendant, its employees, servants, agents and/ or any person person/s acting for and/or on behalf of and/or claiming through or under them, from publishing and/or re-publishing and/or distributing and/or disseminating in any manner whether directly, indirectly or derivatively the Acts of Defamation, and/or any other statements (whether written, printed audio or video) containing the same or similar allegations (as included in the said Acts of Defamation), against the plaintiff.
IAMAI REPRESENTATIVES MEET PRAKASH JAVDEKAR, SEEK MORE TIME FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF IT RULES 2021
Netflix, Amazon, Alt Balaji want protection from FIRs, time to classify shows based on age.
A few days after the central’s government notification regarding the new IT rules for social media intermediaries and digital media platforms, various global as well as domestic players have come forward to discuss the implications of the new rules. This was done in a meeting held by the body known as Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), which is looking to provide comments on the new guidelines to the government in the coming days. Social media platforms with more than 50 lakh users have three months to comply with the said IT rules. Companies have sought an extension for such compliance, as these companies have to put in place a compliance officer, a nodal contact person for 24/7 coordination with law enforcement agencies, and a resident grievance officer. The representatives of varied OTT platforms, together with from Alt Balaji, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Jio, Zee5, Viacom18, Shemaroo, MxPlayer, and many others have also sought for the extension.
FIR AGAINST KANGANA RANAUT AND OTHERS FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN RELATION TO MANIKARNIKA: THE LEGEND OF DIDDA
In a complaint filed by Ashish Kaul, the author of Didda: The Warrior Queen of Kashmir accusing copyright infringement , the Mumbai Police has registered an FIR against actor Kangana Ranaut, her siblings Rangoli Chandel and Akshat Ranaut, and producer Kamal Kumar Jain, following an order by Metropolitan Magistrate, Bandra under section 156(3) of the CrpC. Kaul filed his complaint after Kangana announced the sequel “Manikarnika: the Legend of Didda” to her 2019 film “Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi”.
The FIR is registered under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 120 (criminal conspiracy) & 34(common intention) of the IPC and sections 51 (copyright infringement) of the Copyright Act, punishable under sections 63 & 63A.
INCOME TAX RAIDS RESIDENCES OF TAPSEE PANNU, ANURAG KASHYAP, VIKAS BAHL AND OTHERS RELATED TO PHANTOM FILMS
Income Tax Department conducted searches at Anurag Kashyap, actor Taapsee Pannu, and filmmaker Vikas Bahl’s Mumbai residence.This raid was for people related to Phantom films, which was a film production and distribution company established by Anurag Kashyap, director Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena, and Vikas Bahl and was dissolved in 2018. Tax raids were currently held in Mumbai and Pune and search parties were organised in other places near Mumbai.
POLICE ARRESTS MAN FOR IMPERSONATING T-SERIES CASTING DIRECTOR, CHEATING ACTING ASPIRANTS
Police recently arrested Harshad Sapkal, A 24-year-old man who was allegedly impersonating a casting director from T-Series music company was held by the police for cheating many aspiring actors. He approached people through their mobile numbers mentioned on Instagram profiles. He used to send them fake signing documents on T-Series letterhead and identity cards. Sapkal never met any of the aspirants and connected only via phone with them. He collected money online and later disconnect all the communication, the reports suggested.
INDUSTRY GIVES MIXED REACTIONS REGARDING THE NEW OOH GUIDELINES FOR GOVERNMENT ADS
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, last week has framed policy guidelines for fixing of rate and release of advertisement in Outdoor Media and Personal Media for Government Advertisements. The guidelines will come into effect when the Bureau of Outreach and Communication will notify them. It will supersede all the earlier guidelines released by the Bureau. Regarding the new OOH guidelines, there are mixed reactions from various OOH owners. Some of the OOH owners have considered the clause regarding twice the BOC rate as a good prospect, however, some of the OOH owners have raised their concerns regarding the clause which says that only the companies that have the ownership of the media can advertise on the structure. They have also raised a concern that the new guidelines are silent about when they are going to give the PO (Purchase Order) and when they are going to give the payment to the OOH Advertisers.
TRAI MEETS BROADCASTING SECTOR HEADS
A routine meet was held by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and was attended by various heads, in the meeting they discussed issues such as operational issues faced by stakeholders, audit related problems, lack of transparency in the DD Free Dish auction, etc.
Pursuant to the discussion an annual calendar will be made to decide what all shall be discussed in the consultation process.
IT COMMITTEE TO BE BRIEFED ON NEW GUIDELINES BY MIB AND MEITY OFFICIALS
The briefing will happen on 15th March at 3 pm at Committee Room ‘C’, Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi.
The Rules shall be administered by Ministry of Electronics and IT
The rules prescribe:
- due diligence to be followed by intermediaries: if due diligence is not followed, safe harbour provisions shall not apply;
- grievance redressal mechanism: appointment of a grievance redressal officer by intermediaries;
- Online safety of users: to remove within 24 hours content that exposes private parts of individuals, show individual in partial or full nudity, in sexual act, etc., upon receipt of a complaint.
The Code of Ethics to be administered by Ministry of Information and Technology.
The Code of Ethics prescribe the guidelines to be followed by OTT platforms and online news and digital media entities.
- Self classification of Content: Content to be classified into five age based categories and parental lock to be implemented and classification rating shall be prominently displayed with a content descriptor.
- Norms of Journalistic Conduct of Press Council of India and Programme Code under Cable Television Networks Regulation Act shall be observed by publishers of news on digital media.
- Three level grievance redressal mechanism: (a) self regulation by publishers; (b) self regulation by the self regulating bodies of the publishers; (c) oversight mechanism.