IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (NOV 14-21 )

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Comedian Vir Das in trouble for making objectionable comments in his latest YouTube video

A complaint in Delhi and one in Mumbai have been filed against the Actor and Comedian, Vir Das, for his latest YouTube video. The complaint states that the comedian has willfully incited and made derogatory comments against India, Indian women and the Prime Minister.

The video titled, “I come from two Indias” shows him delivering a monologue at Washington’s Kennedy Centre in USA. He spoke about several topical issues ranging from petrol prices to farmer’s protest to Government’s management of Covid.

Since the video was published, it has received mixed responses from the netizens on social media. Some have felt that his remarks have tarnished the image of the country at an international forum, while others stand in solidarity with him. Das has released a statement on his Twitter handle, justifying his video by calling it a satire.

Delhi High Court ruled in favour of Britannia in the Good Day trademark infringement case

Britannia Industries was granted an ad interim injunction by the Delhi High Court against Good Day Oral Care for allegedly using the identical trademark “GOOD DAY”. The Court accepted the view that “GOOD DAY” is a well-known mark and therefore, Britannia has a right to seek injunction under Section 29(4)(b) of the Trademarks Act, 1999.

The Counsel for Good Day Oral Care argued that “GOOD DAY” is a generic mark and the Plaintiff cannot be held as entitled to exercise monopoly over it. However, the Court vehemently refused this argument and also ordered suspension of the impugned domain name ‘gooddayoralcare.com’.

The order of the Court dated 15th November, 2021 can be accessed here.

Centre submitted that the new IT Rules does not affect the freedom of speech and expression

The Central Government has submitted in the Delhi High Court that the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 [IT Rules, 2021] are only a medium to provide checks-and-balances for removal of unlawful content and they do not affect the freedom of speech and expression.

The Government expressed its concern regarding the availability of fake news and other misleading content available on the social media platform. They reiterated that the IT Rules do not endorse pre-censorship and will just act as a medium to control disruption public order due to transmission of fake news.

Aaj Tak approaches Delhi High Court against the order of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

Aaj Tak news channel has approached the Delhi High Court and has sought for quashing of an order passed by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, dated 26th July, 2021, against a text displayed by the channel. The text was held as violative of Section 6(1)(i) of the Programme Code.

The case to the spotlight through a petition filed by the Actress, Rakul Preet Singh, against Aaj Tak, claiming false reporting on their end regarding a drug case being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau. Singh approached the I&B Ministry and News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA). NBSA ordered in favour of Aaj Tak and accordingly, Singh filed for an independent review against the decision.

The Ministry then passed an order against Aaj Tak declaring that they had violated Section 6(1)(i) of the Programme Code.

Madras High Court settled that the Film Producer is the sole owner of copyright in the film and mere credits to author do not amount to acknowledgement of authors copyright

The Madras High Court has held that mere giving of credit to the author for screenplay and dialogues by the producer would not amount to acknowledgement of the author’s copyright. This ruling came in a copyright dispute on the assignment of remake rights of a film where the director of the film sought for copyright as the credit of story, screenplay and dialogue was given to him.

The Court clarified that credit for a work and copyright are two completely different things. Ordinarily, only the producer is entitled to hold copyright in a cinematograph film. In case the copyright is retained by someone else, it becomes pertinent to show the relevant documents in favour of the other person.

The present case dealt with a challenge against the refusal of Trial Court to grant an injunction for copyright infringement against the producer and Fakrudeen Ali who has brought the remake rights of the film, “Vaalee”.

The judgement of the case dated 12th November, 2021 can be found here.

Delhi High Court slams Newslaundry for its hurtful parody against TV Today Network

The Delhi High Court slammed Newslaundry and held that a parody ruining the other person’s reputation is not justified under the guise of freedom of speech and expression. The Counsel appearing for Newslaundry agreed to take down its video-commentary on the suit filed by TV Today Network against it alleging defamation and copyright infringement.

The development arose when Counsel for the Plaintiff made the Court aware about the videos being made on suit proceedings by the Defendant’s portal. Justice Asha Menon strongly condemned the practice and asked the Defendant to not indulge in such “parallel proceedings”. However, the portal is free to report court proceedings in a fair and transparent manner.

The case is of defamation filed by TV Today Network against the journalists of Newslaundry over articles published on the website and sought damages of Rs. 2 crores with permanent injunctions.

Makers of Tamil movie, Jai Bhim, served with legal notice by Vanniyar Sangam over showing their community in bad light

Vanniyar Sangam, the parent body of the caste-based party Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), has issued a legal notice to the makers of the Tamil movie Jai Bhim and OTT Platform Amazon Prime, where the movie is being streamed. The movie has certain scenes where the organization’s symbol is visible and that has seemed to shown their community in a bad light.

The notice demands an unconditional apology along with damages of Rs. 5 crores within 7 days from the receipt of the notice. The notice has also asked the filmmakers and the people associated with the film to cease and desist from making or publishing any false, malicious and defamatory remarks against the Vanniyar community and its people.

Cryptocurrency trading may soon be regulated in India; Upcoming Parliament session may see a law

The Central Government aims to pre-approve certain currencies and only those shall be allowed to be listed and traded on exchanges. Trading of non-approved coins shall amount to penalty. Additionally, it is planning to introduce a cryptocurrency law in the Parliamentary session that shall begin this month.

The earlier stance of the government regarding criminalizing of possession, trading and transference of crypto-assets has changed. Even the Prime Minister is now of the view of harmony among democratic nations to ensure that cryptocurrencies are not used maliciously, thereby, impacting the youth of the country.

Amitabh Bachchan serves legal notice to Kamla Pasand over continued commercials despite termination of contract

Amitabh Bachchan has sent a legal notice to pan masala brand, Kamla Pasand, as they continued to air TV commercials featuring him despite him terminating the contract. Bachchan withdrew from the ad campaign after a National Anti-tobacco Organization requested him to refrain from endorsing products which can negatively influence the youth.

International

Quentin Tarantino lands in trouble for his NFTs based on Pulp Fiction

The Hollywood studio, Miramax, has sued director, Quentin Tarantino, over his publicized plans to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) based on the movie, Pulp Fiction. The suit has claimed that Tarantino has no rights over the NFTs associated with the movie and he has violated the company’s copyright and trademark. The studio has asked for an immediate halt to the upcoming sale.

Tarantino’s team claims that the contract is clear and he is entitled to sell the NFTs of his hand-written script and a drawing inspired by some element of the scene for Pulp Fiction. However, the studio stated that although Tarantino has right to publish pieces of screenplay, but NFTs do not fall under that umbrella.

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