Bombay High Court Restrains Saregama From Infringing Shemaroo’s Copyright In ‘Disco Dancer’ Movie, Allows London Show To Go On

The Bombay High Court passed a temporary order restraining Saregama India Limited from infringing Shemaroo Entertainment Limited’s copyright in the Mithun Chakraborty starrer Disco Dancer.

Though the interim order extends to performance of the stage play ‘Disco Dancer – The Musical’ by Saregama, the court clarified that the ad interim relief granted to Shemaroo will not affect the planned staging of the musical at a theatre in London from November 16.

Granting ad-interim relief in favour of the plaintiff, Justice Manish Pitale observed that prima facie the intellectual property rights and other theatrical rights of the film were assigned to Shemaroo by producer B Subhash in 2011, prior to a 2019 agreement cited by Shemaroo.

Shemaroo sought interim relief claiming rights in the Mithun Chakraborty starrer ‘Disco Dancer’ as per agreement dated November 11, 2011. Shemaroo claimed that Subhash assigned the rights of 12 of his films to it, Disco Dancer being one of them.

Shemaroo’s counsels argued that it came across the preview of a stage play titled ‘Disco Dancer – The Musical’ on the social networking platform Instagram. It also learned that the musical was based on the film, the rights for which Shemaroo held.

Responding to a legal notice earlier this month, Saregama said the musical was to be performed in March 2020 itself and was being advertised since 2019 therefore there was no substance in the notice.

On an overall assessment and appreciation of the clauses of all the agreements, the Court found that the plaintiff had made out a strong prima facie case in its favour.

Read order here.

Delhi HC Permanently Restrains Raipur Company From Selling Counterfeit ‘Daawat’ Products, Awards ₹25 Lakhs Damages To Basmati Rice Brand

In a trademark infringement suit filed by manufacturers of “Daawat” (A popular basmati rice brand), the Delhi High Court has permanently restrained a Raipur company from selling counterfeit Daawat products.

Justice Pratibha M Singh observed that Saraswati Trading Company, based in Chattisgarh’s Raipur city, is using a “counterfeit packaging” identical to Daawat brand wherein it is selling Jawaphool Rice and portraying it as Basmati Rice.

“These are goods for human consumption. Considering the Plaintiff’s reputation and the fact that ‘DAAWAT’ is a well-known mark in India, the suit is liable to be decreed,” the court said.

The court further added that there can be “no justification” for manufacturing and selling rice in counterfeit ‘DAAWAT’ branded packaging, adding that customers were being misled by the Raipur-based company in a deliberate and dishonest manner.

The court thus decreed the suit filed by LT Foods Limited seeking permanent injunction against Saraswati Trading Company for infringement of its registered marks ‘DAWAT’ and ‘DAAWAT’ and awarded damages of Rs. 25 Lakhs and costs in favour of the Plaintiff.

Read order here.

Delhi High Court Orders Blocking Of’ Pika Show’ App In India, Says ‘Large Amount’ Of Copyrighted Content Being Streamed Illegally

The Delhi High Court has ordered blocking of ‘PikaShow’ mobile application, observing that it is a “rogue app” which is intended “only to broadcast and stream illegal content.”

Passing interim injunction against the application and its owners, Justice Pratibha M Singh directed Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to issue blocking orders against Pika Show app and all the domain names making it available, to ensure that it is blocked by all internet service providers (ISPs)across the country.

The direction was passed in a suit filed by Star India Private Limited and Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited seeking a permanent injunction against the mobile application Pika Show, alleging that it was hosting infringing content over which they have exclusive rights and copyright.

The court also said that the source domains are privacy protected and there are no details whatsoever as to who their registrants are. Observing that blocking of URLs themselves may not be sufficient to stop the streaming of infringing content, the court thus passed an order of interim injunction restraining the application and its owners from making available the same through any of the domain names or websites.

Read order here.

Delhi High Court Orders Suspension Of Over 700 Rogue Websites Accused Of Illegally Streaming Film ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’

The Delhi High Court has permanently restrained a total of 732 rogue websites from broadcasting and streaming the Ajay Devgn starrer movie “Bhuj: The Pride of India.”

The movie has now been released on various online and OTT platforms. Justice Pratibha M Singh decreed a suit filed last year by Star India Private Limited and Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited against 42 rogue websites seeking that the websites be restrained permanently from communicating the film to the public.

On August 9 last year, the court had passed an order of interim injunction against the 42 rogue websites as set out in the plaint, restraining them from broadcasting the movie.

However, despite the interim order, the court was apprised that additional URLs and domain names were also illegally streaming the film. In this regard, the plaintiffs then filed affidavits bringing on record various other domain names and websites.

Noting that the movie has already been released on various platforms including the OTT platforms and other online platforms, the court directed the domain name registrars to ensure that the impugned domain names are suspended, locked and status quo is maintained in respect of the same.

Read order here.

Digital Personal Data Protection Bill Proposes To Amend RTI Act To Completely Bar Disclosure Of Personal Information

The draft of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill was released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on November 18 for public comments.

Clause 30(2) of the draft proposes an amendment to Section 8(j) of the RTI Act, which will have the effect of totally exempting personal information from disclosure. Section 8(j) of the RTI Act states that information which relates to personal information will be exempted from RTI Act, if its disclosure has no relationship to any public activity or interest or if it would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual. However, Public Information Officer can direct the disclosure of such personal information if the authority is satisfied that “the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information”.

Also, there is a proviso to Section 8(j) which says that personal information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or the State Legislature cannot be denied to an RTI applicant.

Now, the draft Digital Personal Data Protection bill proposes to completely take away limitations on the restrictions to disclose personal information and also to remove the powers of the Public Information Officers to allow disclosure of such information on the ground of larger public interest. Also, the proviso to Section 8(j) is also proposed to be taken away.

Madras HC Permits Online Gaming Companies To Withdraw Petitions Against TN Ordinance Which Is Yet To Come Into Force

The All India Gaming Federation and other online gaming companies on November 16 withdrew all petitions challenging Tamil Nadu government’s ordinance for Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games, after State informed that it is yet to be notified.

Observing that the court could not interfere at such a time when the ordinance itself had not come into effect, the court gave liberty to the petitioners to withdraw the suit with liberty to file fresh petitions.[1]

[1] Case Title: All India Gaming Federation v. State of Tamil Nadu; Case No: WP No. 29911 of 2022.

Madras High Court Restrains Over 12K Websites From Illegally Broadcasting FIFA World Cup 2022

The Madras High Court on November 18, granted interim injunction to Viacom18 and restrained more than 12,000 websites from showcasing the FIFA World Cup 2022. Viacom18, the plaintiff in the suit proceedings, contended that they have the exclusive rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup 2022 in the territories of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. For this, they had acquired all the necessary broadcasting rights including television rights, broadband transmission rights, mobile transmission rights and non exclusive radio rights. They also submitted the letter issued by FIFA in this regard confirming their rights.

The plaintiff further provided a list of 12037 websites who were infringing upon Viacom18’s exclusive copyright in the sporting event. It was submitted that there was no possibility of blocking the infringing content alone in the websites. The court also gave liberty to the respondent ISPs to block the infringing websites. The order is to operate for a period of four weeks till the next hearing on December 16.

Read order here.

M-seal vs R-seal: Bombay High Court Grants Interim Relief To Pidilite In Trademark Infringement Suit

Granting interim relief to Pidilite Industries Limited, the Bombay High Court has restrained Riya Chemy from using the mark ‘R-Seal’ or any other mark similar to Pidilite’s ‘M-Seal’ mark, in a trademark and copyright infringement suit.

Justice R. I. Chagla held that prima facie, the defendant secured the registration of the mark ‘R-Seal’ fraudulently by concealing the existence of the plaintiff’s prior registered marks from the Registrar of Trade Marks.

Further, the plaintiff’s mark comes with a disclaimer on the use of the word ‘Seal’ whereas the defendant’s registration both as device and word mark have no such disclaimers. Therefore, plaintiff cannot claim exclusivity on the mark, Ramakrishnan argued.

Observing that the plaintiff acquired the mark together with its goodwill in2000, the court said it is entitled to claim all statutory and common law rights from the first usage of the marks by its predecessors i.e., from1968.

The bench said that the two rival marks cannot co-exist without causing confusion and deception of the public at large and without violating the rights of the plaintiff.

It rejected the defendant’s contention that its business will shut down if an injunction is granted, noting that the defendant has other products.

Read order here.

Pakistani Rooh Afza Removed From Amazon India, Delhi High Court Passes Permanent Injunction In Favour Of Hamdard Dawakhana

After ordering Amazon to remove the listings of Pakistan-manufactured Rooh Afza from its platform in India, the Delhi High Court has passed a permanent injunction in favour of Hamdard National Foundation (India)restraining various sellers from offering the infringing products.

Hamdard National Foundation and Hamdard Laboratories India (Hamdard Dawakhana) had earlier fi led a suit against Amazon and some sellers which were offering the products of its Pakistani counterpart on the e-commerce site in India.

The court further directed Amazon that in case any other listings infringing Hamdard’s mark ‘Rooh Afza’ are found, the same be taken down in accordance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which were amended this year.

Read order here.

‘Jawaan’ plagiarism case: Producers council asks Manickam Narayanan to submit proofs

Popular Tamil director Atlee who is making his Bollywood debut with Jawaan’ starring Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role is facing trouble as a complaint has been filed against the director in the Tamil Film Producer Council over the film’s story. Recently, in the plagiarism case, the producer’s council has asked Manickam Narayanan for proof.

Producer council has began the investigation over the complaint filed by Manickam Narayan as he claimed the 2006 Tamil ‘Perarasu’ and Jawaan’ stories are the same. The board members have reportedly heard both sides, and they asked Manickam Narayanan for proof supporting his complaint.

Shah Rukh Khan is said to be playing a dual role, the only similarity with Vijayakanth’s dual action drama ‘Perarasu’ so far. But Jawaan’ and ‘Perarasu’ stories are expected to be different ones since Shah Rukh Khan is said to be playing an army man in the Bollywood film, while Vijayakanth’s both characters are different in the 2006 Tamil film.

Interministerial panel proposes central law to govern online gaming

The electronics and information technology ministry set up IMTF and its report includes recommendations to central legislation to govern online gaming, calling the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which currently covers it, incapable “of covering/defending/dealing” with digital-based activities and the emerging technologies associated with it.

The report cited inconsistencies in the state laws regarding online gambling while backing central legislation. It said an online gaming platform must not allow or facilitate transactions through unauthorised payment systems and encourage or facilitate any money laundering activities financing of terrorism activities or transactions in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, etc.

The report noted Public Gambling Act (PGA) is a pre-internet era law and acts as a model law state governments may or may not adopt.

The report called a lack of a uniform regulatory approach for online gaming in state laws a cause for concern. It added some state governments follow Public Gambling Act and allow real money games of skill while others have sought to prohibit both games of skill and chance even as Supreme Court recognised the fundamental right to trade for games of skill.

This creates an uncertain regulatory environment for online gaming companies, which are forced to use technologies such as geo-fencing as their games may be legal in some states, and illegal in others. Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu passed laws to prohibit both online games of skill and chance but they were challenged in high courts and held to be unconstitutional.

In its inputs, the Union home ministry said regulation of betting and gambling under a central law should be examined. The department of legal affairs said gambling and betting are state subjects. It cited multiple entries in the Union List in the Constitution under which the Centre can regulate online gambling and betting.

The report proposes a uniform law to determine what forms of online gaming are allowed. It has sought the elimination of the inconsistencies between the laws of different states and to have a single body to address issues pertaining to online gaming.

IMTF was mandated to cover online gaming or games of skill including real money games of skill.