IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (MARCH 22-28)

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MUMBAI COURT ISSUES SUMMONS TO AUTHORS OF MAFIA QUEENS OF MUMBAI, PRODUCERS OF GANGUBAI KATHIAWADI, AND ALIA BHATT IN A CRIMINAL DEFAMATION COMPLAINT

A Metropolitan Magistrate at Mumbai has issued summons to the authors of the book, Mafia Queens of Mumbai, the producers of Gangubai Kathiawadi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Bhansali Productions, and actress Alia Bhatt in a criminal defamation complaint filed against them. The complaint has been filed by Babuji Shah, the purported adopted son of Gangubai Kathiawadi. The novel, Mafia Queens of Mumbai, written by S Hussain Zaidi and Jane Boges contain chapters on the late Gangubai Kathiawadi. The movie, Gangubai Kathiawadi is based on this novel. However, Babuji Shah claims that no permission has been taken to make either a novel or a movie. He further claims that the chapters in the novel on Kathiawadi are defamatory, tarnished her reputation and infringed upon her right to privacy and her self-respect. Further, it can be clearly seen in the movie promo that Kathiawadi’s whole name is being used and also her residential area is shown where she had a good reputation. The court while issuing summons said “Even if it is considered that, Kathiawadi was a prostitute, that does not mean that anybody has permission or write to show or mention her as a prostitute in public.”

Read order here.

DELHI HIGH COURT REFUSES TO GRANT INJUNCTION AGAINST “HAATHI MERE SAATHI’ IN A SUIT FILED BY DR. REDDY’S LABORATORIES LIMITED

The Delhi High Court has refused to grant injunction against release of the Hindi feature film “Haathi Mere Saathi” (Kaadan in Tamil and Aranya in Telugu) in a suit filed by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited seeking stay on the release. The Plaintiff’s grievance was that its business was popularly known as “DRL” which is also a registered trademark and it had found out that the Defendant (Eros International Media Limited) was using / portraying the Plaintiff’s trademark “DRL” in the trailer of the movie as a part of the name “DRL Township” in a derogatory/ disparaging manner. The Plaintiff further alleged that the plot of the movie centers on destruction of an elephant corridor and habitat by a corporate entity named DRL for the construction of its DRL Township and that such unauthorized se would be detrimental to its goodwill and reputation. The Court noted that the application of the Plaintiff’s trademark was under “proposed to be used” category and further observed that it cannot be said that the acronym DRL has acquired distinctiveness and is associated only with the Plaintiff or that there is a tangible connection or direct association of the acronym DRL with the Plaintiff’s trademark/ company/brand. While refusing to grant injunction, the Court also took into account that the fictitious entity Drishti Refineries Limited (as used in the film) is involved in the business of setting up refinery plants and hence the acronym DRL and accordingly denied the Plaintiff’s contention that any movie goer would associate the name DRL Township with the Plaintiff.

Read order here.

SUPREME COURT STAYS CASES IN HIGH COURTS ON OTT CONTENT REGULATION

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Chandrachud while hearing Central government’s transfer petition seeking transfer of cases from various High Courts regarding the OTT content regulation stayed all the proceeding relating to OTT content regulation filed by various online media streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix etc. Further, the Court said that it will hear the matter next week after Holi.

Read order here.

DELHI HIGH COURT SEEKS JUST DIAL’S REPLY ON INDIAMART’S PLEA FOR CONTEMPT OF ORDER ON COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT OF WEBSITE

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to Just Dial and its Managing Director asking for their replies to a contempt application filed by IndiaMart InterMesh Ltd. for alleged copyright infringement. The contempt application is for the contempt of prior copyright order in favour of IndiaMart. The facts of the case are such that in November, last year, IndiaMart InterMesh, owner of indiamart.com had filed a copyright infringement suit against Just Dial. It was alleged that in order to launch its new website, Just Dial blatantly copied the whole proprietary information from Indiamart’s website. The Delhi High Court passed an injunction order restraining Just Dial from launching ‘JD Mart’, its new business, until any data from IndiaMart’s website is being used. The application will now be heard on April 15.

DELHI HIGH COURT GRANTS TIME TO BOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS FOR RESPONSE TO PLEAS BY BENNETT COLEMAN, MEDIA HOUSES TO REJECT SUIT

Thirty-four Bollywood producers and four Bollywood industry associations had earlier filed a lawsuit seeking that channels and media houses be restrained from interfering with the privacy of the people associated with the Bollywood industry as such interference is causing irreparable damage to their reputation by painting the entire industry as “criminals seeped in drugs”. However, Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd. and two other media houses had application seeking rejection of the above-mentioned lawsuit on the issue of jurisdiction and claimed that the Delhi High Court has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the lawsuit against them. For the said application by the media houses, the Delhi High Court has granted time to the Bollywood producers to file their replies within four weeks.

THE NEW OTT RULES ARE SIMILAR TO RULES IN AUSTRALIA, SINGAPORE, EU: SUBMITTED THE CENTRE

A plea was filed by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha seeking regulation of OTT content of various online media streaming platforms. In response to the said plea, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has submitted that the newly introduced IT Rules will keep a check on the OTT platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and many more. Further, the ministry submitted that the new regulations are similar to mechanisms in countries like Singapore, Australia as well as the European Union.

BOMBAY HIGH COURT ASKS MAKERS OF ‘V’ TO DECIDE IF THEY WOULD AGREE TO SAKSHI MALIK’S DEMANDS ON THE AMOUNT TO BE PAID TO HER FOR USING HER PHOTO WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION

The Bombay High Court has asked the makers of the Telugu film “V” to decide if they are willing to pay the amount which actor Sakshi Malik has demanded for using her photo without consent and settle the dispute. Justice G S Patel noted that there was not much difference between what the actor has demanded and what the other party was ready to pay and the cost, if decided, can bring the entire litigation to an end. He further noted that if the parties failed to reach an agreement and a trial started and Malik won, she would be entitled to costs which would include Malik’s actual litigation costs and additional amount levied by the High Court as cost for copyright infringement and defamation. The Court has asked the film makers to procure written instructions and inform by April 1, 2021.

Read order here.

Read details about the case here.

NCPCR ASKS I&B MINISTRY TO DIRECT NETFLIX TO REMOVE ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ SCENES FROM BOMBAY BEGUMS

As per reports, NCPCR on March 26 asked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to order Netflix to remove a few scenes from its series Bombay Begums which allegedly portray children inappropriately. In a letter to Information and Broadcasting Ministry Joint Secretary Vikam Sahay, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo claimed that the Netflix series, Bombay Begums, has not only violated the prevailing law of the land and guidelines, it’s continuing the same and affecting children’s interest to a very large extent. The NCPCR said considering the “seriousness” of the issue, it recommended the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (a regulatory authority of OTTS under the new guidelines) to issue directions to Netflix at the earliest to ensure that the aforementioned scenes are immediately removed from the series and to take appropriate measures as per due procedure. “You are further requested to furnish an ATR (action-taken report) in this regard within seven days of issue of this letter, failing which the commission will be constrained to initiate proceedings under Section 14 of CPCR Act, 2005,” Kanoongo said in the letter.

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