IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (JUNE 21-27)

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(These highlights have been contributed by Ms. Pooja Gala & Mr Sudarshan Mohta)

 CENTRE PROPOSES TO AMEND E-COMMERCE RULES TO CURB FLASH SALES, APPOINT GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL OFFICERS.

The Central Government has proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020(“Rules”). The Rules are proposed for e-commerce marketplaces, including Amazon and Flipkart, following complaints from small businesses of misuse of market dominance and deep discounting by the online retailers. According to amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 suggested by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, the Rules proposes changes such as: (i) mandatory registration requirements for online retailers, (ii) greater scrutiny of flash sales, (iii) enhanced liability of e-commerce entities, and (iv) a stronger grievance redressal mechanism (v) Limit so-called ‘flash sales’ of goods and services by e-commerce companies like back-to-back sales (vi) allow only specific flash sales that limit customer choice (vii) Disclosure regarding cross-selling of goods (viii) Prohibition of mis-selling of goods (ix)Non-discrimination between imported and domestic goods etc. A period of 15 days (i.e., till 6th July 2021) has been given to all stakeholders for submitting their responses, as part of public consultation process.

MADRAS HIGH COURT ADMITS ANOTHER CHALLENGE TO IT RULES, 2021; PLEA MOVED BY DIGITAL NEWS PUBLISHERS’ ASSOCIATION, JOURNALIST MUKUND PADMANABHAN

One more writ petition filed challenging the constitutionality of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. The Petition filed by Digital News Publishers Association and journalist Mukund Padmanabhan has been tagged along with the petition filed by Carnatic singer TM Krishna. The Madras High Court issued a notice to the Union of India while admitting the petition. This writ petition challenges the constitutionality of the Rules and alleges that it violates the Fundamental Right of Equality Before Law (Article 14), freedom of speech and expression (Article 19(1)(a), and the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business (Article 19 (1) (g)). In this backdrop, the petitioners have urged the High Court to declare the IT Rules, 2021 as violative of Articles 14 and 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India.

The Court has granted the petitioners liberty to approach the Court for interim relief if any coercive action is taken against them invoking Rules 12, 14 and 16 of the IT Rules, 2021.

What are Rules 12, 14, and 16 of the IT Rules 2021?

Rule 12: This Rule states that applicable entities under the purview of IT Rules 2021 will have to develop an Oversight Mechanism which would have the following functions:

  • Publish a charter for self-regulating bodies, including Codes of Practices for such bodies.
  • Develop a Grievance portal for prompt disposal of grievances.
  • Establish and refer to an Inter-Departmental Committee for hearing grievances.

Rule 14: An authorised officer can identify entities that have published specific content, and ask them to submit clarifications regarding the content before the Inter-Departmental Committee. The committee can make a decision to block the content based on the clarifications provided.

Rule 16: This rule defines a ‘significant publisher of news and current affairs as those which is operational in India, and “has not less than 5 lakh subscribers or 50 lakh followers on the services of any significant social media intermediary”. This significant publisher of news and current affairs is required to notify the Broadcast Seva that it is operating in India by furnishing the required information.

BOLO INDYA, THE SOCIAL MEDIA APP, HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE GOOGLE PLAYSTORE ON A COPYRIGHT COMPLAINT MADE BY MUSIC LABEL T-SERIES.

Google has temporarily removed home-grown social media app Bolo Indya from Playstore following a copyright complaint made by music giant T-Series. As per report, the live-streaming platform has around 70 lakh users. In September 2020, the music label had served copyright infringement notice to social media and video sharing platforms, claiming damages of Rs 3.5 crore. It had also asked the platform to render accounts of all revenues illegally earned by the platform from the copyrighted content. In furtherance to this, Bolo Indya spokesperson state they are in talks with T Series and Google to resolve the issue at the earliest and the platform will be back on Play Store shortly. We assure that users that all their created content and transaction details for in-app currency purchases are safe and Bolo Indya will be back soon on Play Store for them to continue having their friends download the app from Play Store to enjoy the new features.

REPUTATION IS PUREST TREASURE:” MUMBAI COURT RESTRAINS KAMAAL R KHAN FROM MAKING DEFAMATORY REMARKS AGAINST SALMAN KHAN

The Bombay City Civil Court on Wednesday passed an interim order restraining actor Kamaal R Khan from making and uploading videos, posting, tweeting or publishing any defamatory content, directly or indirectly, about Bollywood actor Salman Khan, his business ventures and their films/projects including the latest film ‘Radhe’. On hearing the suit by Khan for termed ‘defamatory’, the Sessions judge concluded that the tweets or videos do not refer to the content of the film and “very clearly lower down Khan’s image in the society” portraying him as a “criminal, cheater and person with no dignity”.The Court also stated that KRK failed to explain his defamatory statements and if use of such words is permitted to be continued, then it will cause irreparable loss to Khan’s image. The Court passed an interim order restraining KRK from making any defamatory statements against Khan and his business ventures while seeking KRK’s response.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM-BASED ARTIST IN TROUBLE FOR COPYRIGHT VIOLATION

Lloyd John, a musician received the intimation from YouTube citing violation of the Copyright Act, 1957 for uploading a revamped version of the renowned poet ONV Kurup’s popular song Mele Poomala from the movie Madhanolsavam. According to High Court, remixing or changing the lyrics of a song without permission and using it for commercial purposes is copyright infringement. “When the song gets popular on YouTube, there is a commercial advantage for the person uploading it. And doing it without permission is a punishable offence.

RECORDED MUSIC PERFORMANCE LIMITED RECEIVES REGISTRATION AS A COPYRIGHT SOCIETY FOR SOUND RECORDINGS

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce & Industry has granted certificate of registration to Recorded Music Performance Limited (RMPL) under Section 33(3) of the Copyright Act, 1957 and permitted it to commence and carry on the copyright business in sound recording works. The Recorded Music Performance Ltd. (RMPL) owns, as assignee, and exclusively controls public performance rights and radio broadcasting rights (sound recordings) of few companies, including both non-film and film songs of its members, who are music labels.

SONY MUSIC GETS AD-INTERIM RELIEF FROM BOMBAY HIGH COURT AGAINST KAL RADIO OVER COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AND VIOLATION OF STATUTORY LICENSING PROVISIONS

In a copyright infringement suit filed by Sony Music, Bombay High Court has granted an ad-interim injunction in favour of Sony Music against KAL Radio Limited thereby restraining them from broadcasting / communicating the copyrighted works of Sony Music (Indian and International repertoire) on its FM radio stations, without complying the provisions of Section 31-D of the Copyright Act and the Rules framed thereunder. The ad interim injunction shall continue until 2nd July 2021. Read order. While similar infringement suits have been filed by other music labels like T Series and Saregama which are pending before the Delhi High Court, the Bombay High Court decision is one of the first ad-interim injunction orders against a radio broadcaster post the statutory licensing order of IPAB being passed.

KANGANA RANAUT MOVES BOMBAY HC AGAINST FIR ON COPYRIGHT VIOLATION

An FIR was filed by Ashish Kaul, author of ‘Didda: The Warrior Queen Of Kashmir’ for an alleged copyright iolation and cheating against Actor Kangana Ranaut, as She had tweeted about her next production, ‘Manikarnika Returns: The Legend Of Didda’, based on the story of the Queen of Kashmir who defeated Mehmood Ghaznavi twice. The FIR was filed under IPC sections for cheating, criminal breach of trust and conspiracy and also the Copyright Act, following an order passed by a magistrate’s court on an application filed by author. Actor Kangana Ranaut and her brother Akshat Ranaut have approached the Bombay High Court challenging an FIR lodged against them by Mumbai Police for alleged copyright infringement and cheating in connection with a film project and also challenged the magistrate’s order to lodge FIR, and a notice issued by the police directing them to appear for questioning. “The whole FIR is lodged on a false case. Copyright infringement can be there only when there is comparative work. The Actor “no film made, hence no copyright infringement offence committed. It is only because she announced that the film will be made the FIR was registered under the Copyright Act’’.

EU TOP COURT HANDS WIN TO YOUTUBE IN USER COPYRIGHT FIGHT

Europe’s top court in a recent ruling held that online platforms are not liable for users uploading unauthorized works unless the platforms failed to take quick action to remove or block access to the content. The Court held that “As currently stands, operators of online platforms do not, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms”.

“However, those operators do make such a communication in breach of copyright where they contribute, beyond merely making those platforms available, to giving access to such content to the public,” judges said.

The EU court said platforms could also be liable if they do not put in place the appropriate technological tools to tackle copyright breaches by their users or where they provide tools on their platforms for illegal sharing of content.

SINGH AND SINGH V. SINGH+ SINGH TRADEMARK INJUNCTION ORDER BY DELHI HIGH COURT

The Delhi High Court temporarily restrained a Canada-based law firm, ‘Singh + Singh Lawyers LLP’ (‘S&S Canada’) from infringing the trademark of an Indian law firm, ‘Singh & Singh Law firm LLP’ (‘S&S India’). The Court held that owing to S&S India’ global reputation and goodwill, the similarity of the colour combination of the logos, the similarity in names, a possibility of confusion existed. The court was thus convinced that a prima facie case existed in favour of S&S India.

HIGH COURT SEEKS INFO ON RELEASE OF MOVIE PURPORTEDLY BASED ON SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT’S LIFE

The Division Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani and Justice Jasmeet Singh issued notice in an appeal preferred by Krishna Kishore Singh after watching clips of the film (“Nyay: The Justice”) released on an OTT platform called ‘Lapalap Original’.

The film affects the right to privacy as well as the right to fair trial and is a violation of ‘celebrity rights’ or the ‘right to publicity’.

The matter has been posted for hearing on 14th July.

FILMMAKERS CRITICISE CENTRE’S PLANS TO ‘RECENSOR’ ALREADY CENSORED FILMS

The amendment proposed by the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021, will reinstate Section 6 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, allowing the Centre to order rectification of already certified films following receipts of complaints, in other words, if the situation so warrants, the Central Government has the power to reverse the decision of the Board.

The amendment will reverse the decision of the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka in KM Shankarappa Vs. Union of India wherein it was held that the Central Government cannot exercise revisional powers in respect of films that are already certified by the Board and this was upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

The MIB solicits comments on the draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021 by 2nd July, 2021.

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