IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (JUNE 28- JULY 4)

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CBFC BLURS “MUMBAI SAGA” SCENE DEPICTING RSS IN BAD LIGHT

The (CBFC) has blurred a scene depicting Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in a derogatory manner in the film “Mumbai Saga”. The film, produced by Sangita Ahir, wife of Shiv Sena leader Sachin Ahir, was streamed on Amazon Prime Video.

The CBFC has taken the action after an RSS worker Mahesh Bhingarde took a strong objection to the “mischievous” and “misleading” scene. He had served a legal notice to the film’s producers and directors with a demand to seek unconditional apology. The producers of the film, Super Cassette Industries Private Limited and White Feather Private Limited, had admitted their mistake in filming the scene. They too had requested the CBFC to blur the scene as it sent a wrong message.

The movie which is loosely based on the life of gangster Ashwin Naik, also portrays Shiv Sena founder the late Balasaheb Thackeray in a bad light. In the controversial scene, a corrupt police officer is shown hand in glove with the criminals. He tells a fellow officer that he was a member of Bhauchi Sena (a depiction of Shiv Sena), where he learned all the bad things.

The character of the officer says he is a regular at a shakha, a unit of Bhauchi Sena. However, when he shows his pictures at shakha, the viewers get to see RSS workers in uniform, carrying their danda and standing in a position to recite the Sangh prayer. The director of the film had mistakenly shown an RSS shakha as a Shiv Sena shakha which contemplates the same as a mistaken identity and admitted the mistake though he has yet no apologized for the same. The complainant condemned the act and said the legal battle will continue until the controversial scene is deleted and the makers issue an unconditional apology.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY BODY RESTRICTS DELHI-BASED ENTITY FROM USING “KHADI” BRAND NAME

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has ordered a Delhi-based firm against using a domain name www.urbankhadi.com, which illegally uses the brand name “Khadi”.

The administrative panel of WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Centre has ruled that the firm “Om Soft Solutions”, owned by Harsh Gaba, had registered and used the domain name www.urbankhadi.com in “bad faith” to gain benefit from the goodwill of Khadi.

The panel’s order came on a petition of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) against “Om Soft Solutions. The panel lent credence to KVIC’s contentions that it was a systematic attempt by the defendant to derive unfair advantage, wrongful commercial gains and to mislead the public into believing that www.urbankhadi.com is an associate of Khadi India.

The panel rejected the arguments of the defendant who claimed that the word “Khadi” enjoyed no protection and that nobody had an exclusive right to use the name “Khadi”.

The panel ordered that the disputed domain name be transferred to the complainant.

IS FANTASY CRICKET GAMBLING? SUPREME COURT ADJOURNS DREAM11 HEARING BY TWO WEEKS

On a Special Leave Petition filed by social activist Avinash Mehrotra’s questioning the nature of business of fantasy cricket operators Dream11, has been adjourned by two weeks.

The debate whether fantasy cricket is a matter of skill or chance has been lingering for over two years now. While Real Money Gaming platforms like Dream11, MPL, Games 24×7 have insisted that online games like cricket, rummy, poker (and now ludo) overwhelmingly require skill and the chance element is negligible, the contentions in the SLP are exactly to the contrary.

Monday’s hearing came in the wake of a SLP that challenged a Rajasthan HC division bench judgement that gave Dream11 a clean chit, saying that fantasy cricket is a game of skill and there was no question of betting or gambling.

The verdict of the Rajasthan HC was a repetition of orders passed by the Bombay HC and the Punjab & Haryana HC in 2019 and 2017 respectively.

The Bombay HC order of 2019 was the usual norm until a SC Bench of former CJI Bobde, Justice Gavai and Justice Kant, stayed it in March 2020 and for the first time and issued a notice to Dream 11.

Speed at which the matter is heard, disposed or adjourned is of real essence as the Real Money Gaming world is keenly looking up to this case. As a lot of investors are holding on till the matter is finally settled.

TWITTER VS STATES: MULTIPLE FIRS AGAINST SOCIAL MEDIA GIANT

The battle between the social media giant Twitter and the government of India continues to grow after multiple FIRs were filed against Twitter.

After deciding of not complying with the new digital rules, Twitter have lost the intermediary liability as per the GOI.

Adding to the standoff, the platform showed a wrong map of India on its website showcasing Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh as a separate country. As a result, FIR’s were filed against the MD Manish Maheshwari under section 505 (2) IPC and section 74 of the IT Act by the Uttar Pradesh Police. The MP police also booked the MD for the same but chose to not charge him under section 74.

Meanwhile, FIR was registered against the social media company in Delhi for allegedly allowing access to child pornography on the microblogging platform. The complaint was made by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The case has been registered under relevant provisions of IPC, POSCO and the IT Act.

BROADCASTERS CHASE PIRATES AS SIGNAL GOES HIGH-TECH

Indian broadcasters are chasing pirates as illegal streaming devices and signal theft eat into revenues, especially of big-hit shows such as live sports. Star India recently filed a case against Android software aggregator Thop TV right before the ICC World Test Championship Final.

Sony Pics Networks also secured a Dynamic John Doe injunction order from the Delhi Substantial Courtroom to avert infringement of copyrights for two approaching intercontinental cricketing series: India-Sri Lanka men’s international collection in July and the India-England men’s worldwide sequence in August and September.

Much more than 400 Indian channels are streamed illegally globally, with no shelling out any expenses to Indian broadcasters. The covid-19 pandemic has observed a sharp rise in the buyer foundation for this unlawful material.

Current legal guidelines on broadcasting and distribution of satellite tv channels do not have any provision which prohibits the sale and use of Kodi packing containers (a term for illicit WiFi kind of packing containers). Their brands and sellers are not required to get hold of any license or certificate from the ministry of information and broadcasting. In addition, makers of these packing containers are situated in non- compliant jurisdictions.

KERALA COURT ORDERS FACEBOOK TO TAKE DOWN CONTENT INFRINGING WORK OF VEMPATI RAVI SHANKAR

The widow of late Vempati Ravi Shankar, a Kuchipudi maestro, Sweety Priyanka Vempati Ravi Shankar filed a plea in a Kerala court seeking permanent prohibitory injunction restraining Facebook and other unknown persons from infringing the copyright of sound recordings and other dramatized works, created by late Vempati Ravi Shankar and presently held by the plaintiff. The suit also sought an injunction to restrain the public from using the title ‘Vempati Ravi Shankar’ without the prior consent of the plaintiff. However, the court granted a temporary injunction, ordering Facebook to take down the infringing content.

MADRAS HIGH COURT DISMISSES INJUNCTION AGAINST TAMIL DIRECTOR, SHANKAR

An injunction application was filed by Lyca Productions, the producers of Indian 2 against the director Shankar. The said application stated that the director, Shankar should be restrained from directing an upcoming film that he is directing with Telugu star Ram Charan before Shankar completes the direction of Indian 2. Lyca Productions, in April filed charges against the director for not completing the movie, Indian 2. Later, the Court asked both the concerned parties to resolve the dispute amicably, however, the talks did not bear any fruits. Recently, this application has been dismissed by the court.

MADRAS HIGH COURT REFUSES TO ENTERTAIN PIL WHICH SEEKS TO BAN ONLINE GAMES

A PIL was filed by E Martin Jayakumar, raising the concern that Online Games have become addictive to children and young adults. Thus, the said PIL sought to impose restrictions on Online Games in India. The Madras High Court disposed the PIL and said that Courts should be slow in entering into such areas on the personal sense of morality of the individual complainant or the Judge or Judges concerned. There is no doubt that when there is some illegal action or something which is detrimental to larger public interest, Courts intervene; but in matters of the present kind, especially when elected Governments are in place, such matters of policy should be left to the wisdom of those representing the people instead of Court issuing a diktat.” The Court also asked the Petitioner to make representation of the issue to the Union and State Government within four weeks as it is a matter of policy.

BOMBAY HIGH COURT UPHOLDS THE TARIFF PLAN INTRODUCED BY TRAI IN JANUARY, 2020

Various petitions filed by Film and Television Producers Guild of India, Indian Broadcasting Foundation and TV broadcasters including Sony Pictures, Zee Entertainment, Star India, Disney, TV18, Asianet Communications among others challenged the constitutional validity of the recently introduced new tariff rules by TRAI. The Bombay High Court while disposing off the petitions upheld the Constitutional validity of the recently introduced tariff rules, however, it struck down the condition which restrained broadcasters from including premium channels — rates of which exceeded three times the rate of the average channels — being offered in the bouquet and held that it was unconstitutional. The petitioners, although sought a stay on the implementation of the judgment, so that the petitioners can appeal in the Supreme Court. The Court granted the said stay to the petitioners.

JOURNALIST MOVES BOMBAY HIGH COURT, CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RULES, 2021

Nikhil Mangesh Wagle, a Mumbai based journalist has moved the Bombay High Court challenging the constitutional validity of the recently enacted Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The petitioner seeks to quash the said Rules on the ground that it is ultra vires the Constitution.

KARNATAKA HIGH COURT SEEKS RESPONSE FROM CHIEF SECRETARY FOR FAILURE TO BRING REGULATION AS ASSURED

The Karnataka High Court has directed the Chief Secretary to within a week file an affidavit setting out the reasons why the State Government has not abided by its assurances given to the court and made its stand clear about action, if any, they propose to take in the subject of banning online gambling and betting.  The bench gave the direction while hearing a petition filed by one Sharada D R who sought to ban all online betting and gambling. The bench in its order noted that “Notice was issued way back on 30th November 2020 with a direction to the State Government to file a statement of objections within six weeks. The said order records that no further time shall be granted. A statement of objections has not been filed till date. At least, till the second week of April 2021, the excuse of the second wave of COVID-19 was not available to the State. Even on 12th January 2021, an assurancewas given to this Court to file a statement of objections within three weeks. That assurance has not been abided by.”

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