Sony Music moves Bombay High Court against Ilaiyaraaja Music company alleging copyright infringement

Sony Music Entertainment India Pvt Ltd has locked horns with music maestro Ilaiyaraaja’s ‘Ilaiyaraaja Music N Management Pvt Ltd’ (IMM) in a copyright infringement Suit filed before the Bombay High Court seeking an injunction and permanent damages of Rs 1.5 crore from IMM.

The plaint claims that the Padma Bhushan awardee’s company, by streaming music, is infringing at least 228 of the 536 title albums acquired by Sony through a series of transactions with various third parties. Sony states that the exploitation was brought to its notice in December 2021, therefore the urgency.

It sought ad-interim reliefs to restrain IMM from live streaming, or asserting any right to receive royalty over the 536 titles acquired by them and to disclose any agreements entered into regarding the title albums.

In the reply affidavit, IMM has accused Sony of making out a “false case of urgency”, as the maestro’s works (including the compositions Sony claims to own) are being distributed by ‘Trend Loud Digital’ since 2015.

IMM alleged that Sony was aware of the distribution when it was negotiating for Ilaiyaraaja’s entire repertoire of work last year and had in fact entered into a non-disclosure-agreement in December, 2021 but the negotiations did not materialize into a deal.

The suit filed for ad-interim reliefs will be heard on March 31, 2022 seeking directions to restrain the Padma Bhushan awardee’s company from exploiting several of his own compositions.

On the contrary, Dr Ilaiyaraaja had previously sued Echo Recording Company claiming right, title and interest in respect of over 310 songs composed by him. The Madras High Court held that Echo was the legal owner of the sound recordings and was entitled to exploit the same. The court however upheld Ilaiyaraaya’s moral rights over his compositions. While Sony cited the Madras High court judgement in its plaint before the Bombay High Court in January 2022, earlier this month a division bench of the Madras HC stayed the decree after Ilaiyaraaja’s counsels submitted that the suit was decreed without their counter claim. The matter will now be heard on March 28, 2022.

Telangana court slaps ₹10 lakh costs on plea against Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Jhund’

A local Court in Telangana has dismissed a petition filed by Hyderabad filmmaker Nandi Chini Kumar, seeking to restrain the release of Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Jhund’. The court also imposed a cost of Rs. 10 lakh on the petitioner as according to them he had suppressed material information.

Significantly, the film is based on the life of Mr. Vijay Barse, a social worker and soccer coach. The Petitioner claimed that he had acquired Life rights of Mr. Akhilesh Paul, one of Barse’s disciples, and thus, the film will have substantial elements from Paul’s life.

The matter was earlier settled amicably and Kumar had withdrawn all allegations against the respondent parties in January last year. Now, the filmmaker alleged that the suit was withdrawn on the basis of a settlement agreement that was founded upon misrepresentation and fraud.

The Respondent contended that the petitioner had approached the court at the 11th hour as a blackmail action to prevent the release of ‘Jhund’. They also submitted that the writ petition would not be maintainable since the issue involves a dispute between two private parties. The respondents also made another allegation that the filmmaker joined the Central Board of Film Certification only for making a scheme to bring the cause of action within the ambit of Article 226.

Telangana court refused to entertain the matter after concluding that the petitioner has suppressed material information and the multiplicity of cases pertaining to the matter at different courts.

Prithviraj Chauhan movie: Delhi High Court junks PIL demanding title change for Akshay Kumar starrer

The Delhi High Court refused to entertain a PIL seeking to change the title of the upcoming movie ‘Prithviraj’, produced by Yash Raj Films. The movie starring actors Akshay Kumar and Manushi Chillar in the lead roles is set to release on 10th June, 2022.

The petitioner, Rashtriya Pravasi Parishad, submitted that the film is based on the life of Indian Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan. However, its name is not reflective of the same. It was argued that by putting a simple title ‘Prithiviraj’, the Respondents are lowering the dignity and respect of the great emperor. Thus, directions were sought to change the title of the film and include some respectful prefixes.

The Petitioner based its arguments alleging that the present title of the film is in contravention of Section 5B (Principles for guidance in certifying films) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, as per which, the title of the film cannot be “indecent/ defamatory”.

As the Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna expressed its reservation to entertain the petition, the counsel sought permission to withdraw the plea. Accordingly, the matter was disposed of as withdrawn.

Cannot curtail opinions on social media, discussion in academic world: Delhi HC to Dr. Vikram Sampath

The Delhi High Court on 4th March, 2022 refused to grant any urgent relief to historian Dr. Vikram Sampath, who is aggrieved over circulation of a google document, purportedly signed by various academicians who came in support of historian Audrey Truschke over allegations of plagiarism regarding Sampath’s work on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

Sampath claimed that the document was posted by Truschke on social media platforms including Twitter, thereby violating court’s interim order.

However, hearing the matter Justice Amit Bansal  orally told the Plaintiff that “you can’t curtail discussion on the subject in the academic world. Your cause of action is qua those who are defaming you. For that you have orders. You can’t get injunction against thousands of people,”

The Court was dealing with an application moved in the suit filed by Sampath against Audrey Truschke and other persons over a letter sent by them to Royal Historical Society raising allegations of plagiarism against him with respect to a journal publication and his two-volume biography of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

The Court however issued notice on the application. The matter will now be heard in due course.

Earlier, the Court had restrained Truschke and other persons from publishing defamatory material against Sampath till April 1.

MediaOne channel files appeal before Supreme Court against Kerala High Court verdict upholding license revocation

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed the appeal moved by Malayalam news channel MediaOne against the single judge order upholding the recent ban imposed on it by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on national security grounds.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly upheld the order passed by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting refusing to renew the broadcast license granted to MediaOne.

The Court observed that the appellants have failed to establish any jurisdictional error or other legal infirmities in the judgment of the single Judge bench.

On January 31, a few hours after the Ministry suspended the channel’s telecast citing security concerns, MediaOne had approached the Single Judge with a plea. The channel owned by Jamaat-e-Islami went off the air on the same day. However, upon hearing the preliminary arguments set out by both sides, the Judge granted the channel an interim relief allowing it to telecast, which was extended on two occasions.

Read order here.

Govt seeks stakeholder inputs on IPR issues in proposed trade pact with Canada

The government recently sought suggestions from stakeholders and industry bodies on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues in the possible trade agreement between India and Canada. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said that the two sides are discussing a trade agreement which has a “possibility of an interim agreement” on a wide range of areas of mutual interest. The department has asked stakeholders to furnish details on the IPR areas which are of “prime considerations” such as patent, trademark, copyright, design, geographical indications, enforcement, commercialization and technology transfer, and regulatory approval.

As per the proforma issued by the DPIIT, they also have to provide areas of concern such as filing, registration, enforcement or commercialization of stakeholders’ IP rights in Canada, and the level at which the challenges were observed such as IP offices, enforcement agencies or any other government or regulatory agency besides the focus areas for the government in its collaborative efforts with Ottawa.

Government bans website, social handles of channel linked to outlawed Sikh group

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) banned website, apps and social handles of foreign-based ‘Punjab Politics TV’ for allegedly attempting to disturb public order during assembly elections. According to the statement issued by the ministry, ‘Punjab Politics TV’ is believed to have close links with Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), an organisation that has been declared unlawful under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Mahesh Manjrekar gets relief from Bombay High Court in obscenity case

The Bombay High Court on March 1, granted protection from arrest for three weeks to Marathi actor and director Mahesh Manjrekar and producers of the film Varan Bhaat Loncha Kon Nay Koncha in a case involving obscene scenes against minors. A division bench of justices PB Varale and SP Tavade was hearing a criminal petition filed by Mr Manjrekar and others seeking to quash a FIR against them filed on February 24 under provision of the Indian Penal Code, The Indecent Representation of Women, Section 13 which pertains to use of children for pornographic purposes of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and the Information Technology Act. The plea mentioned that the FIR involves a trailer of the film which has been taken down from all social media platforms and that the film does not contain any pornographic material or objectionable scene involving a child.The bench issued notice to the State and directed a reply to be filed after three weeks and said no coercive steps to be taken till then.

Ed Sheeran copyright row: Singer in court to defend ‘Shape Of You’ after songwriters claim it’s a rip-off

Ed Sheeran appeared at the High Court for the start of a three-week legal battle over the copyright of his song ‘Shape Of You’.

The 31-year-old singer-songwriter is in a dispute with two musicians who claim his 2017 hit rips off parts of their song ‘Oh Why’, which was released in March 2015.

Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue are the two musicians who allege that Ed Sheeran’s song infringes “particular lines and phrases” of their composition.

The two songs in question share a similar refrain and melody. The star has previously tried to put a stop to the row, issuing legal proceedings in May 2018, asking the High Court to declare that he and the song’s co-authors had not infringed Chokri and O’Donoghue’s copyright.

However, two months later, in July 2018, Chokri and O’Donoghue issued their own claim for “copyright infringement, damages and an account of profits in relation to the alleged infringement,” according to the latest ruling.

Dua Lipa sued by reggae band alleging copyright infringement on her massive hit song ‘Levitating

Hollywood singer Dua Lipa is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit over her hit song ‘Levitating’ after Florida-based reggae band Artikal Sound System accused the singer of stealing from their 2017 track for her massive hit.

The Grammy-winning artist and the team behind her 2020 smash were sued for her song being “substantially similar” to Artikal’s 2017 recording. The reggae band alleged that the song ‘Levitating’ was ripped off from the band’s track titled “Live Your Life.”

The complaint, which was filed in Los Angeles federal court, also names Warner Records along with the 26-year-old singer and the song’s producers and writers. Artikal Sound System believes that it’s “highly unlikely” that Lipa’s song was written independently given the similarities between the two records.

According to the court documents, Artikal Sound System is alleging they are owed profits from ‘Levitating’ in addition to damages and are demanding a jury trial. The plaintiffs have reportedly sought monetary compensation, as they feel they are entitled to share the profits from ‘Levitating’ as the copyright holders to “Live Your Life.” Representatives for Dua Lipa and Warner Music Group have not commented as yet.