IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (JULY 5-11)

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MIB PREPARING CHARTER FOR FUNCTIONING OF SRBS FORMED BY OTT, DIGITAL PLATFORMS (READ HERE)

As per the recent report, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) will come up with a charter that will lay the ground for the working of self-regulating bodies (SRBs) for OTT platforms and digital news websites. For this charter, the ministry will take help of internal and external experts, which will list their responsibilities. Notably, the SRBs are the second of the three-tier grievance redressal mechanisms mandated by the government under the IT Rules 2021.

“WHAT’S GOING ON? IT IS TERRIBLE…SHOCKING. IT IS DISTRESSING,” – SUPREME COURT LAMBASTED THE USE OF QUASHED SECTION 66A OF IT ACT (READ HERE)

Recently, in a plea by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) for issuing suitable directives to the Union government and subordinate courts in the country to make sure cases are not registered under Section 66A, and nobody is arrested or prosecuted under this quashed law, the Apex Court headed by justice Rohinton F Nariman, lamented the use of the provision even after it has been struck down in 2015 and has been directed to publicise. PUCL contended that Section 66A has continued to be in use, not only within police stations but also in cases before trial courts. It further complained that the police were lodging FIRs under the provision, trial courts were also passing orders and people were being prosecuted.

INDIAN-2 AND FORUM SHOPPING – MADRAS HIGH COURT (READ HERE)

Recently, the Madras High Court remarked that Lyca Productions, the makers of Indian-2, starring actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan, indulged in “forum shopping” by seeking remedy from multiple courts. It was also noted that even after the dispute arose, Lyca did not take any steps to invoke the arbitration clause and it was only done when the court pointed out the same. The Court further said that when there is no contract restraining Shankar from doing his regular business, granting an interim injunction will amount to restraining the film director from doing his own trade which is against the Contract Act.

VISHAL BHARDWAJ’S SHOW ON IC 814 HIJACKING DROPPED BY STREAMING PLATFORM (READ HERE)

After Tandav backlash, recently a webseries on the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 was dropped by a streaming platform. The director said that even after insisting that it’s a part of history and is not against our current government, the show couldn’t be taken forward.

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT SEEKS TRANSFER OF CASES CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF IT RULES, 2021 TO THE SUPREME COURT. 

The central government in a transfer petition sought transfer of all cases challenging the constitutionality of the IT Rules 2021, from various High Courts to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court did not stay the proceedings in different High Courts challenging the rules however, it did order the transfer petition to be tagged with a pending special leave petition relating to the issue (Union of India vs Foundation for Independent Journalism & ors). The transfer plea contended that if such individual petitions are decided independently by High Courts, the same may result in a likelihood of conflict between the decisions of the Hon’ble High Court and the Supreme Court. Currently, several perditions related to the IT rules have been filed before the Delhi, Bombay, Madras, and Kerala High Courts.

Meanwhile, in another petition filed by News Broadcasters Association challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (The News Broadcasters Association Vs. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), the Kerala High Court on July 9 issued notice to the Central government on a petition filed by the News Broadcasters Association  and granted the prayer of the petitioners that no coercive actions may be taken against them for non-compliance with part III of the IT Rules, 2021

WITH THE ABOLITION OF IPAB, DELHI HIGH COURT HAS CREATED AN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DIVISION TO DEAL WITH IP CASES.

The Delhi HC has established an Intellectual Property Division to deal with matters related to IPR. This is done in line with the committee recommendations  by Chief Justice D.N.Patel and composed of Hon’ble Ms. Justice Prathiba M. Singh and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjeev Narula. The committee was constituted to streamline and comprehensively review how a large quantum of IPR cases should be dealt with. The creation of Intellectual Property Division (IPD) would avoid multiplicity of proceedings and the possibility of conflicting decisions with respect to matters relating to the same trademarks, patents, design etc. The Delhi High Court is also in the process of framing comprehensive Rules for the IPD. A Committee has already been constituted for framing of the `Delhi High Court Patent Rules’ which shall govern the procedures for adjudication of patent disputes before the Delhi High Court. The first draft of these Rules have already been notified for stakeholders’ comments, which have been received.

DUA LIPA SUED FOR PUTTING UP A PAPARAZZI PICTURE ON INSTAGRAM. 

Integral Images sued Due Lipa for copyright infringement after the singer posted a paparazzi photo of herself on Instagram. Integral Images says Lipa profited from the photo, as her Instagram feed acts as a marketing tool for her music and is seeking $150,000 (£108,000) damages. The company is also asking for an order preventing the singer from further acts of infringement, as well as legal costs. Lipa is not the first star to be sued for sharing paparazzi images of themselves to social media. Gigi Hadid, Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lopez, and Khloe Kardashian have all faced similar cases, while in 2019 both Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber settled complaints brought by photographer Robert Barbera.

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

In a suit filed by Sweety Priyanka Vempati Ravi Shankar (plaintiff), widow of Ravi Shankar, The District Court, Thiruvananthapuram directed social media giant, Facebook to take down links of works allegedly infringing copyright over Ravi Shankar’s works. The Plaintiff submitted that Ravi Shankar had developed his own sound recordings, dance moves and dramatization of many plays in Kuchipudi. The suit highlighted that Priyanka has been granted copyright in respect of four sound recording works composed by Ravi Shankar, i.e., Swathi Thirunal Nrutyam, Vempati Ravishankar Nruthyam, Vempati Ravishankar Nruthyam – 2 and Vempati Ravishankar Nruthyam – 3. It was submitted that several unknown persons have been continuously misusing the title ‘Vempati Ravi Shankar’ as well as his copyrighted works and these works have been published on social media platforms, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram and that while YouTube honoured the plaintiff’s notices for copyright infringement and took down the content which violated the copyright of the plaintiff, Facebook and Instagram were yet to take down the infringing content.

(These highlights have been contributed by Lokesh Vyas and Harshil Dureja)

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