IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (NOV 22-28)

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NBSDA Directs Times Now To Remove Video

The News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBSDA) has ruled that the show aired by Times Now was ‘devoid of objectivity’ and violated Fundamental Principles as enumerated in the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and various Guidelines and Advisories issued by NBSDA.

The show was titled ‘Teesta Setalvad Coaches Shaheen Bagh Protestors’ wherein Setalvad was called ‘Modi Baiter’ despite her making no statement against the Prime Minister at Shaheen Bagh.

The order stated ‘using bold headlines and attributing her to be ‘Modi Baiter’ seems out of context and doesn’t appear to be an objective assessment of her speech, lacks neutrality and accuracy and also violates Guidelines which require that ‘facts should be clearly distinguishable from, and not be mixed up with, opinion, analysis and comment’.

NBSDA had directed Times Now to remove the video from its channel, YouTube and other links and convey the same to NBSDA within 7 days.

Parliamentary Panel Adopts Draft Data Protection Bill Amid Dissent Notes From Opposition

Draft report on The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, was adopted after nearly two years of deliberation.

Some of the issues raised by the opposition included: (a) centre would now hold powers to allow any government agency to be exempt from the Act in its entirety, without first seeking parliamentary approval; (b) reduction of penalty provision, which would have held the tech giants responsible in case of any violation; (c) dilution of the regulation of social media platforms.

Protection Against Rogue Websites

In the matter before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court (IA No. 15206 – 08/2021) it was held that the plaintiff (Star India Pvt. Ltd.) had made out a prima facie case and if an order was not passed restraining the defendants from infringing the intellectual property rights (copyright and trademark) of the plaintiff, the plaintiff would suffer irreparable loss and injury.

The film (‘Tadap’) is scheduled to be released on 03/12/2021 across all theatres in India.

Subway Drags Taxman To Court Over GST On Intellectual Property Rights

In the writ petition filed in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Subway Systems India said that the tax department had issued multiple summons to top management over taxability of intellectual property rights. The summons were issued in spite of explaining to the tax authorities that an advance ruling application is pending.

The dispute emanates from the controversy over the taxability of intellectual property rights and royalty. Multinationals including fast food chains, hotels and tech companies that operate through franchisee models in India have come under the taxman’s lens, the tax department is questioning the nature of agreement and wants to levy 18% GST on income or royalty received by the multinationals.

Most multinationals pay about 12% GST on the amount as they claim that they are not transferring the brand name or allowing the Indian entity to use the brand name for perpetuity. Multinationals claim that there is a difference between “right to use” and “transfer of right to use” a brand name and so GST rates on royalty receipts too should differ. Tax department claims that this is just nomenclature aimed at tax arbitrage.

In most cases the contract mentions that the contract is for 99 years or so. Tax department claims that in essence this is just nomenclature. Under the tax framework the way the contracts are worded tends to decide the tax rate.

Tax department wants to scrutinise “substance over form” of these contracts. That is, whether the contracts are merely drawn in a particular manner to save taxes.

The Merger May Give Rise to India’s Largest Media Company

The merger of Zee and Sony may give rise to India’s largest media company with leadership in almost every genre and language across India.

The new entity fills in the gaps in ZEEL’s portfolio. This also comes at a time when ad volumes are seeing recovery.

Lomotif Launches In India With Strategic Partner Socialkyte

Founded by Paul Yang in 2014, and acquired by Zash Global Media And Entertainment, the app gives access to a global audience, and its patent technology allows users to immerse themselves in an engaging format of content.

The consumption of short format growth and availability of apps/ platforms continues to grow since the Tik Tok ban in India.

Delhi High Court upholds right to dissent while rejecting plea to stay publication of Salman Khurshid’s book

The Delhi High Court while dismissing a plea to stop the publication, circulation and sale of Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s new book held that free speech is not to be exercised only if it falls in line with the majoritarian view, and right to dissent is the essence of a vibrant democracy. Justice Yashwant Varma, who was dealing with the plea which claimed the book Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood In Our Times “impinges upon the faith of others”, said that rights guaranteed by the Constitution, including free speech, cannot be restricted or denied on perceived apprehension of being unpalatable, and a democracy governed by the rule of law would be placed in serious peril if creative voices were stifled or intellectual freedom is suppressed. The freedom to freely express ideas and opinions cannot be permitted to be overshadowed by the ominous cloud of being non-conformist,” the court said in its order passed on November 25.

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