IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS ( AUGUST 22-28)

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Trouble for Lal Singh Chadha continues

  • PIL Seeking Prohibition on Exposition of Movie ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’

A PIL has been filed before the Calcutta High Court seeking prohibition on the exhibition of the movie Laal Singh Chaddha starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan in the State because it may disrupt the peace.

The BJP leader who has moved the HC, stated that the situation in the state is extremely volatile to any issue relating to religion and due to some recent events of unrest in the state, the petitioner has sought this plea.

The movie has already faced a lot of backlash from a section of society and accusations of defamation are made on the makers for demoralizing the Indian Army.

Hence, the plea seeks to direct the respondents to not exhibit the film in the State of West Bengal, to maintain peace and security and ensure peace and security of individuals watching the movie if in case the exhibition is not prohibited.

  • Complaint filed on makers of Laal Singh Chaddha and Shabaash Mithu

Another complaint has been filed in the Court of Commissioner for People with Disabilities against Laal Singh Chaddha and Shabaash Mithu for poking fun at differently-abled people.

The complaint is made by Dr Satendra Singh, co-founder of Doctors with Disabilities, who is also affected by 70% locomotor disability, which restricts the movement of a person due to disability of bones, joints or muscles. However, no confirmation on the matter was received from the social justice and empowerment ministry.

According to the notice, the court of commissioner for persons with disabilities has sought comments from the directors of the films, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Union information and broadcasting ministry on the matter.

The complaint alleges that the films violate provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 through demeaning remarks against specially-abled people.

Another FIR Against Makers of Suriya’s Jai Bhim, This Time Under Copyright Act

The movie Jai Bhim has been making headlines for yet another FIR filed against the makers. In the latest case, director Gnanavel and producer Suriya have been accused for copyright infringement and story theft as an FIR has been registered under Section 63 in the Copyright Act. The FIR has been registered by a man whose life story has been depicted in Jai Bhim.

In his complaint, the man has claimed that his royalty amount was not paid by the makers as the filmmakers had promised a profit share to him when he presented the story to the director-producer duo.

Jai Bhim was previously caught in a legal battle for allegedly showing the Vanniyar community in a bad light. A case was registered against the director and the producer under section 295A of the IPC on May 17. Later, Suriya and Gnanavel had approached the Madras High Court to quash the FIR and had stated that a few scenes about the Vanniyar community were edited out before the release of Jai Bhim. The director also claimed that the complainant had not watched the movie properly, which led to false allegations. A member of the Vanniyar community then accused Gnanavel of showing Vanniyars engaging in illegal work. This claim was also rubbished by both Suriya and Gnanavel. Later, the Madras High Court dismissed the petition registered against them.

Ekta Kapoor takes legal action against fake casting calls using her name: ‘Have never demanded money from any aspirant’

On 28.08.2022,  Ekta Kapoor and her production ventures, Balaji Telefilms Ltd and ALT Digital Entertainment issued a statement against fake casting agents demanding money from acting spirants in her name. The company is also taking necessary legal steps in the matter and meanwhile, urged people to report any suspicious casting call to them.

The official statement released on Social Media also added a helpline mail id to report any such fraud case in such event and had mentioned that they received information that some people in her name had been cheating aspirants and asking for money in her name to cast in her shows.

Delhi HC fines distillery Rs 20 lakh for infringing ‘Royal Stag’ whiskey trademark

The Delhi High Court has permanently restrained, and imposed a cost of Rs 20 lakh, on Gwalior Distilleries Private Ltd, makers of Royal Champ whiskey, which is deceptively similar to Seagram’s ‘Royal Stag’ whiskey brand over trademark infringement.

Justice Navin Chawla, in the order held that the Gwalior Distilleries was clearly intending to deceive the unwary consumer and to ride on the reputation and goodwill of the plaintiffs.

The Court further held that mere use of the word ‘Champ’ instead of ‘Stag’ is not sufficient to distinguish the two marks, especially when combined with the overall get up of the label. The goods are sold over the counter and an unwary consumer is likely to confuse one for the other.

The court also noted that the label of the defendant is “a colourable and slavish” imitation of the plaintiffs’ Royal Stag label and also amounts to copyright infringement under Section 51 read with Section 55 of the Copyright Act.

As per the suit, the defendant had copied all the features that collectively distinguish the plaintiff’s trade dress of Royal Stag. The bottle of the defendant has a label affixed upon the front panel, having the same colour combination of cream, burgundy and gold as that of the plaintiffs’ Royal Stag label.

After going through the detailed submissions and referring to various judgements, the court held that since the goods of the plaintiffs and defendant are identical, that is whiskey, the mark of the defendant is deceptively similar to that of the plaintiffs. The test to be applied for judging the claim of infringement and passing off is of an unwary consumer with average intelligence and imperfect recollection.

Accordingly, the court decreed the defendant to pay to the plaintiff a sum of Rs 20 lakh as damages and costs of the suit.

Delhi High court restrains rogue websites from streaming Asia Cup 2022

In a judgement related to a suit filed by Star India Private Limited and Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited, the Delhi HC restrained 11 rogue websites from streaming and broadcasting matches of the Asia Cup 2022.

Star India, which has the global rights of the event, filed the suit in the court as these websites (mentioned in their suit) regularly rebroadcast the live match content illegally and the exclusivity of the rights earned by the broadcaster is being violated.

Justice Prathiba M Singh, while noting that various sporting events are usually unauthorisedly broadcasted and streamed by various websites, said that Star India has the global rights of online streaming and hence no other website should broadcast the event illegally. The court also directed the Domain Name Registrars (DNRs), Department of Technology (DoT), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY), and Internet Service Providers to immediately block the domains of these websites and maintain status quo.

The Defendant Nos. 1 to 11 and all others acting for or on their behalf, shall stand restrained from hosting, streaming, broadcasting, rebroadcasting, retransmitting or in any other manner communicating to the public, or disseminating to the public, any cricketing events, extracts, excerpts, highlights in relation to cricket matches relating to the Asia Cup 2022 commencing from 27th August 2022 to 11th September 2022,” the Court ordered.

Zomato withdraws Hrithik Roshan ad after backlash from temple, apologises

Zomato on 23rd August, withdrew the ad it released recently showcasing Hrithik Roshan amidst backlash from public. The company stated that the advertisement makers had no intention to disrespect any religion.

The controversy began on Saturday after priests of the Mahakaleshwar temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain objected to the advertisement in which the actor says he felt like having a “thali” (food platter) in Ujjain so he ordered it from “Mahakal”.

“Mahakal temple does not deliver any thali. Zomato and Hrithik Roshan must apologize for this ad,” priest  said, according to the Business Standard. “The company has made misleading publicity about the Mahakal temple in its advertisement. The company should think before issuing such advertisements.”

The priests also approached Ujjain Collector Ashish Singh, who is the chairman of the Mahakal temple trust, and sought action against the company. Several Twitter users had also called for a boycott of Zomato.

Zomato, however, clarified that the ad referenced the Mahakal Restaurant of the city and not the Mahakaleshwar temple.

“Mahakal Restaurant is one of our high-order-volume restaurant partners in Ujjain and thali is a recommended item on its menu,” Zomato said. “The video is part of its pan-India campaign for which we identified top local restaurants and their top dishes based on popularity in each city.”

It added that Zomato deeply respects the sentiments of the people of Ujjain and the ad in question is no longer running.

Paramount Sues Company Behind a McDowell’s Restaurant Pop-Up For Infringing on ‘Coming to America’

Pop-up restaurant that paid homage to the 1980s classic comedy “Coming to America” now faces a lawsuit from Paramount Pictures over copyright infringement.

JMC Pop Ups LLC created a temporary version of McDowell’s, the fictional fast-food burger place in the 1988 film starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall.

In the movie, Mr. Murphy’s character, Prince Akeem Joffer, gets a job at the restaurant and falls in love with the owner’s daughter. McDowell’s itself, a restaurant operated by small-business owner Cleo McDowell, is a tongue-in-cheek gag throughout the film.

Paramount Pictures is suing JMC in the Copyright Claims Board, a newly created tribunal that stems from a 2020 law and caps infringement claims at $30,000. Paramount is asking for $30,000 plus lawyers’ fees because of the alleged infringement of “Coming to America.”

JMC, which creates themed restaurants and bars associated with television shows and movies, had run the McDowell’s pop-up for about two weeks in May and June in Springfield, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., and last April in Cherry Hill, N.J., a suburb of Philadelphia, Paramount said.

JMC said the pop-up didn’t infringe on Paramount’s registered trademarks or copyrights, and couldn’t have harmed their business. It cited the re-creation of the McDowell’s restaurant and use of its menu and character names and likenesses. Paramount said “Coming to America” remains popular despite premiering over three decades ago.

Singer Taylor Swift collides with $1 million copyright lawsuit for her album ‘Lover’

Singer and songwriter Taylor Swift has collided with a copyright lawsuit for her album ‘Lover’. On August 23, La Dart filed a complaint at a federal court in Tennessee accusing Taylor of plagiarizing her book of poems, tales, anecdotes and images.

According to reports, Teresa La Dart has sued Swift for $ 1 million with the allegation that the singer copied author La Dart’s 2010 self-published book of poetry of the same name for the companion booklet for the 2019 ‘Lover’ album.

According to a report of Billboard, the alleged similarities between La Dart’s book and Swift’s book include covers that both feature ‘pastel pinks and blues,’ as well as an image of the author ‘photographed in a downward pose.’ La Dart also claims Swift copied the book’s format, namely ‘a recollection of past years memorialized in a combination of written and pictorial components.’ La Dart says that the inner book design specifically that it’s composed of ‘interspersed photographs and writings’ also infringed her copyrights.

Meanwhile, Swift is also entangled with another copyright lawsuit over her song ‘Shake It Off’.

Producers of Michael Bisping documentary hit with copyright lawsuit from UFC

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Michael Bisping was honored with his own documentary to commemorate his incredible journey through the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). The makers of the documentary have been accused of copyright infringement by the UFC attorneys.

The UFC attorneys reported that Score G Productions, named as primary defendant, never bothered to contact the promotion about content licensing. That means any of the footage from Bisping’s UFC fights was used without permission and could be subject to removal and/or compensatory damages.

UFC claims the Bisping documentary borrows “substantial portions of the UFC’s most famous fights,” including footage of Conor McGregor’s knockout victory over then-featherweight champion Jose Aldo. To allow such exceptions under the “fair use” act, attorneys argue, would set a precedent permitting any future documentary to serve as an excuse to rebroadcast UFC fights without authorization.

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