63 Of Copyright Act Is Cognizable Offence, Police Can Register FIR On Receipt Of Complaint: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court has held that Section 63 of the Copyright Act, which prescribes a punishment of minimum 6 months that may extend to 3 years imprisonment, is cognizable offence and police can register a First Information Report, on receipt of a complaint.

Justice M Nagaprasanna observed that merely because a separate provision under Section 64 of the Act which depicts power of search and seizure by the Police is also found in the statute, it does not take away cognizability of the offence punishable under Section 63 of the Act. The court further noted that in a given case, the competent criminal Court can sentence an offender under Section 63 of the Act to three years imprisonment Exact three years is a possibility in a given circumstance. Therefore, would fall under Item No.2 of Schedule Il of the Cr.P.C.

The Court further noted that on a cumulative analysis of the Act and the judgments rendered by various constitutional Courts what would unmistakably emerge is, Section 63 of the Act as it existed earlier, the maximum punishment that could be imposed was imprisonment for a period of one year. It is the amendment in the year 1984, that enhanced the period of imprisonment to three years. The objects and reasons are very clear as to why such an enhancement is done. Even otherwise in the light of afore-quoted judgments of the constitutional Courts it cannot but be held that the offences punishable under Section 63 of the Act are cognizable.

The background of the case is that the petitioner, ANI Technologies Private Limited (also known as Ola Cabs) and its Directors had approached the court calling in question registration of FIR against them under Section 63 of the Copyright Act on account of the Petitioner launching Ola Play where several of the contents of music videos and songs belonging to several of the films whose music copyrights the respondent owns, owns were being displayed under the feature Ola play and on the ground that the Petitioner is indulging in commercial exploitation of copyright of music.

Read Order here.

‘Casteist’ Remark Case: Punjab & Haryana High Court Grants Interim Anticipatory Bail To Actress Munmun Dutta

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted interim anticipatory bail to Actress Munmun Dutta  over ‘Bhangi remark, a casteist slur allegedly made by her in a video posted in social media.

The Bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan granted her interim anticipatory bail subject to her joining the investigation in the matter within one week and listed the matter for further hearing on February 25, 2022.

It may be noted that in total, five FIR had been filed under Section 3(1)(u) Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against Munmun Dutta for the usage of the casteist slur in a youtube video. Bhangi is a Sub Caste declared Scheduled Caste in North India.

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court for clubbing of all the FIRs and it was ordered by the Court that all the FIRs be clubbed and the one registered at Hansi city was ordered to be treated as the main FIR.

The actor had publicly apologized for her statement and stated that there was a language barrier due which she was not aware of its meaning.

Read order here.

Supreme Court Grants Protection From Arrest To Sherlyn Chopra In Porn Videos Case
On Friday, the Supreme Court granted protection from arrest to actress Sherlyn Chopra in the porn films racket case. Her counsel apprised the court that Ms Poonam Pandey, a co-accused and alleged to have committed the same offences, has been granted protection from arrest by the Apex Court last month. The Bench issued notice and granted the protection that no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner.

An FIR had been registered with the Nodal Cyber Police Station against Ms. Chopra, Ms Pandey along with other co-accused for offence punishable under Section 292 of the IPC, Section 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Section 3 and 4 of Indecent Women Representation Act, 1986.

The complaint was lodged alleging that websites broadcasting/exhibiting indecent video, audio filed having lascivious, lustful and offensive sexual desire messages and videos were openly available through internet. Ms. Chopra was alleged to have acted in these obscene video clips.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court noted that the custodial interrogation of the accused was necessary and therefore, rejected pre-arrest bail to all.

Read order here.

“Title Hurts Sentiments Of Rajput Community”: Karni Sena Moves Allahabad HC Seeking Ban On Release Of Movie ‘Prithviraj’

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea has been moved in Allahabad High Court by Shri Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena’s National Vice President (women wing) to restrain the release of the movie Prithviraj starring Akshay Kumar and Manushi Chhillar.

The plea alleges that the film has been titled as Prithviraj in place of Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan and thus, it passes a wrong message in society and also hurts the religious sentiments and beliefs of Rajput Community.

The plea states that respondents have tried to defame, degrade the historical warrior Hindu king who had sacrificed his life for sake of the safety and security of the Hindustan. Further, the plea also objects to the attire worn by the actress Manushi Chillar in the movie (playing the role of Queen Sanyogita).

Significantly, on February 2, before the Division Bench, the petitioner argued that alleging the preview of the movie that has been released recently, depicts king Prithviraj Chauhan in a degrading manner and which has hurt her sentiments as a Rajput.

Having heard the arguments of the petitioner, the Bench asked the central government as to whether the film Prithviraj has been approved by the Central Board of Film Certification or not and listed the matter for hearing in the week commencing 21st February 2022.

Read order here.

Search Engines Like Google Not ‘Publishers’ Under Part III Of IT Rules, 2021: Centre Tells Delhi High Court

The Central Government has told the Delhi High Court that search engines like Google are not publishers under Part III of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Section 2(s) of the Rules defines a publisher as a publisher of news and current affairs content or a publisher of online ap curated content.

The Centre through Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has filed a counter affidavit in a plea filed by a CBSE official seeking removal of various links and news items published in the year 2017, regarding the alleged NET answer sheet scam case, after a closure report was filed by the CBI finding no criminal involvement of the officials.

Seeking its deletion from the array of parties, it has been submitted that in place of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting; the petitioner should have made the Ministry of Electronics and information Technology as the respondent as the matter fell within its domain.

That search engines like Google etc. come under the purview of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and are governed by the provisions of Information and Technology Act 2000 and Part II of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 notified under this act.

Delhi High Court Refunds Entire Court Fees In A Trademark Infringement Suit Resolved Amicably Outside Court

The Delhi High Court recently decided to refund the entire court fees in a trademark infringement case, which was amicably settled by the parties outside the Court.

In doing so, the Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait followed suit of the Supreme Court in the case of High Court of Judicatum at Madras vs MC: Subramaniam. In the said case, the Top Court had held that the parties who privately agree to settle their dispute outside the modes contemplated under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure are also entitled to refund of Court fees.

The participants in private settlements will be entitled to the same benefits as those who have been referred to explore alternate dispute settlement methods under Section 89 CPC, the bench comprising Justices Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran had observed

Applying the said ratio, the Delhi High Court allowed the present plaintiff to seek refund of entire court fees.

The plaintiff, Western infrabuild Products, had moved the Court seeking permanent injunction restraining infringement copyright, trademark/ trading name/corporate name, passing off, unfair competition, delivery up, damages, etc. against the defendants.

Read order here.

Appears To Be Dishonest Adoption Of Plaintiff’s Trademark: Delhi High Court Grants Interim Protection To Owner Of “Baazi” Games

In a case concerning alleged trademarks infringement, the Delhi High Court granted an ad interim injunction against the Defendants under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 read with Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 unjustifiably using the trademarked word “Baazi for its gaming services.

Adjudicating on the argument of the Defendant regarding the descriptive nature of the word “Baazi as non-violative of the Petitioner’s trademark, Justice Asha Menon observed as followed that no reason for such adoption of the same word “Baazi has been offered by the defendants except to claim that “Bazzi” is a descriptive word After all the trademark of the defendants is Winzo. Where was the need to borrow the word used by the Plaintiff along with its registered trademark if it was not for benefitting from the goodwill of the plaintiff’s trademark

Holding that dishonest use of trademark “Baazi” or a similar word by a competitor of the registered proprietor of the trademark would suffice to restrain such user, the Court allowed the application of the Plaintiff/the registered proprietor for ad interim injunction till the disposal of the suit.

Read order here.

Delhi High Court asks Delhi Government to decide whether fantasy game “Gameking 11” is a game of skill or not

The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government to consider and decide a representation claiming that ‘GAMEKING 11’, a fantasy sports game, is a skill game not amounting to gambling, and the authorities including the police should not create any hindrance in its operation. The petition is filed by Dream7 Entertainment Pvt Ltd the operator of the fantasy sports platform GAMEKING 11. The petitioner argued that other high courts have held that other similar fantasy sports games amounted to games of skill.  The petition stated that ‘GAMEKING 11’ did not attract the rigors of the Delhi Gambling Act, 1955, and the petitioner possessed the necessary trade licence from South Delhi Municipal Corporation. The petitioner claimed that it is entitled to protect its right to free trade under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

What is the skill? There is no skill in choosing Messi and Maradona,” the bench countered. The senior counsel for petitioners explained that “skill was in selection” as “Messi and Maradona are costly players and with say 100 numbers a user has to choose 11 players” for his team. “You are saying it is a game of skill. Let the authorities apply their mind and come back to you. You will have a clearer picture when that order comes to you,” the judge responded.

The court clarified that the petitioner is free to seek the remedies available in law to it after the decision. Delhi government counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted that the writ petition can be considered as a representation by the competent authority and a speaking order can be passed within two weeks.

A user “selects, builds and acts as manager” of his virtual team constituting of real players who compete with the virtual teams of other users for points, and “winner of such fantasy sports game is the participant whose virtual team accumulates the greatest number of points across the round(s) of the game”, the petition read.

The officer of Respondent No.2 (Delhi Police) at P.S. Lajpat Nagar New Delhi, has visited the premises of the petitioner in the area, several times and has without passing any order in writing, orally directed not to continue with the aforesaid activity else the same shall be booked under the Delhi Gambling Act and closed down,” the petition alleged.

I&B Ministry bans MediaOne Channel, Kerala HC extends interim hold on Centre’s order barring telecast of the channel

The Union government on Jan 31 barred the telecast of Malayalam news channel MediaOne citing “security reasons”. The Kerala High Court stayed the implementation of the order for two days. The telecast of MediaOne channel was once again disallowed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, citing security reasons.