Delhi High Court Refuses To Stay Release Of ‘Faraaz’, Directs Filmmakers To ‘Scrupulously Adhere’ To Disclaimer

The Delhi High Court on 02.02.2023 refused to stay release of filmmaker Hansal Mehta’s movie Faraaz which is based on the terrorist attack that took place on July 01, 2016, at Holey Artisan, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh directed the filmmaker and producers to “scrupulously adhere to the disclaimer which states that the film is inspired by the attack and elements contained in it are pure works of fiction.

The court was hearing an appeal moved by two women, who lost their daughters in the attack, against the order of the single judge who had refused to grant interim relief against release of the movie.

Hansal Mehta and producers had given the disclaimer in an affidavit before the single judge. Refusing to stay the film’s release, the bench observed that the disclaimer takes care of the concerns of the mothers.

The court also took note of the categorical submission made on behalf of the respondents that the pictures or images relating to the daughters do not feature in the film.

The matter will now be heard on February 22.

Paresh Rawal gets breather in ‘anti-Bengali’ jibe case. Calcutta HC says police can’t take coercive action

BJP leader and Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal had moved to the Calcutta High Court over FIR filed against him for allegedly making ‘anti-Bengali remarks’. That on 02.02.23, the Calcutta High Court Single bench ordered that no coercive action can be taken against Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal by the Kolkata Police and he can be questioned via video conferencing.

The Background of the remark takes us back to the 2022-Gujarat elections, where Rawal had said “Gas cylinders are expensive, but the prices will come down. People will get employment too. But what will happen if Rohingya migrants and Bangladeshis start living around you, like in Delhi? What will you do with gas cylinders? Cook fish for the Bengalis?”

His remarks sparked nationwide outrage, prompting the actor to apologise on Twitter for his take on the subject. Rawal subsequently went on to say that he statement was in reference to illegal “Bangladeshis and Rohingyas”.

When the video of this speech went viral, Paresh faced the wrath of the netizens. A complaint was lodged at the Taltala police station in Kolkata by CPM State Secretary Mohammad Salim.

Subsequently, a case was registered against Rawal under sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (propagates denial of rights to linguistic or racial groups), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (statements intending public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

After the Kolkata Police had summoned Paresh, he was asked to appear on December 12 at 2pm. But at the appointed time Paresh told the investigating police officer that he was very busy with work and asked for at least six weeks to appear at the police station. Then BJP MP and Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal, subsequently, approached the court challenging the summons notice.

Madras High Court Dismisses Plea By AR Rahman, GV Prakash and Santhosh Narayan Challenging GST Department’s Order Claiming Service Tax

The Madras High Court has recently dismissed the pleas filed by music composers AR Rahman, GV Prakash and Santhosh Narayan challenging the proceedings initiated by the Commissioner of the GST Department levying service tax on transfer of copyright in musical work for the period between 2013 and 2017.

The department had asserted that the music composers were not the owner of the musical work composed and hence no copyright as contemplated under Section 13(1)(a) under the Copyright Act vested in them.

The petitioner composers on the other hand claimed exemption in respect of receipts from temporary transfer or permitting to the use or enjoyment of a copyright in terms of clause (15) of Notification No.25 of 2012 Relying on Section 658(44) of the Finance Act 1994, the petitioners further contended that they were exempt as they came within the purview of services.

Justice Anita Sumanth noted that to adjudicate the issue, it was necessary to look into the factual nature of the agreements between the petitioners and the third parties, and the authority was better equipped to took to the matter. The court added that the writ court could not go into interpretation of contractual clauses.

The petitioners had also challenged the jurisdiction of the Director General of GST Intelligence for issuing the show cause notice under the Finance Act 1994 read with Section 174(2) of the CGST Act. The petitioners argued that the power through which the DGGI could issue show cause notices emanated from Notifications issued prior to the GST regime. According to the petitioner, these notifications were not explicitly saved with the enactment of GST and thus the source of power itself was invalid in law and falls foul of statutory mandate.

However, looking into the proviso to Section 174 (2) (c) which states that repeal shall not affect the rights, privileges, obligations or liability acquired, accrued or incurred under the old Act, the High Court held that the assumption of jurisdiction by the DGGI was valid.

Read order here.

IAMAI slams Draft IT Rules on Online Gaming says, “Right on Intention, Poor on Scoping”

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in a statement released on 2nd February, 2023 said that the draft IT Rules on online gaming are right on intention, but poor on scoping.

The IAMAI gave three reasons as to why the proposed Rules are a very positive development for the online gaming industry ecosystem:

  • That they would create a legal framework for orderly and accelerated development of the industry.
  • That they will provide for very strong consumer safety measures
  • That they will allow the industry to be self-regulated. These measures, by bringing in recognition and regulatory certainty, will allow for innovations and investments in the industry.

However, IAMAI members have also pointed out in a submission to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) that the scoping of the rules has been done poorly and the following aspects need a major re-look.

  • That the definition of gaming and what is sought to be regulated needs to be defined in a better manner, since the definition of online gaming is too broad and vague and would unnecessarily bring under regulation and expensive compliance a set of firms that do not need to be regulated or need to be very lightly regulated.
  • Further, that certain provisions of the draft also seem to imply that service providers or partners that advertise, publish or host online games will have to comply with the Rules by verifying each game with the self-regulatory body (SRB) on an ongoing basis making it impractical. Intermediaries must not be obligated to ascertain and verify the registration of online games.
  • Most importantly, the scoping of the SRB is not strong enough

The industry has asked for a retired Judge since ultimately the role of the SRB would be adjudication and the industry has asked for common principles by which gaming SRBs are governed.

Netflix Unveils First Details of New Anti-Password Sharing Measures

Netflix has unveiled the details of its new anti-password-sharing policy, detailing a suite of complex gymnastics that customers will be expected to undergo if their living arrangements trigger Netflix’s automated enforcement mechanisms.

Netflix says that its new policy allows members of the same “household” to share an account. This policy comes with an assumption: that there is a commonly understood, universal meaning of “household,” and that software can determine who is and is not a member of your household.

This is a very old corporate delusion in the world of technology. Their term of art for this was the “authorized domain”: a software-defined family unit whose borders were privately negotiated by corporate executives from media companies, broadcasters, tech and consumer electronics companies in closed-door sessions all around the world, with no public minutes or proceedings.

Netflix has estimated that over 100 million users worldwide are using the service through the login credentials of someone else. It hopes that by putting an end to account sharing, it will bring a new infusion of revenue to the company. It’s essentially the only way that Netflix can make meaningful subscriber additions.

We Have No User Data Except Name & Phone Number; We Don’t Process Personal Sensitive Data : WhatsApp Tells Supreme Court

On Wednesday, WhatsApp informed the Supreme Court that by policy it does not process sensitive personal data of its users.

A Constitution Bench bench comprising Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar was hearing the petitions which were filed challenging the 2016 privacy policy of WhatsApp. The case was referred to the Constitution Bench in 2017

On the last date of hearing, the Bench was apprised that a Data Protection Bill is to be introduced in the Parliament in the second half of the Budget Session, 2023.

To elucidate on the policy followed by WhatsApp, Sr. Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing on behalf of WhatsApp submitted that that there are 600 million users of the Application in India, and none of them seems to have complained that their data has been disclosed by WhatsApp to any third party.

It was pointed out by Mr. Sibal that WhatsApp is protected by end-to-end encryption and even WhatsApp does not have any information with respect to the users’ messages. He indicated that the only user information that is available to WhatsApp other than the user’s name is the phone number.

Mr. Sibal informed the Bench that there are several Government of India Applications where no explicit consent is obtained, continued use is deemed as consent.

Senior Advocate, Mr. Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioner, argued that if it is the respondents’ case that there are extant regulations and they are in compliance with the same, then the Court might not await the introduction of the draft Bill.

He argued that when WhatApp introduced the Application, they had projected that they were not going to part with the data of their users. However, in 2016, when Facebook took over WhatsApp, there was a drastic change in privacy policy. He pointed out that as per the international standard, Facebook should have obtained informed consent and provide an opt out option for those who do not wish to comply with its privacy policy.

Mr. Sibal indicated that by a letter dated 22.05.2021, WhatsApp has already given an undertaking that the functionality of WhatsApp will not be affected for users who have not accepted its privacy policy and the position would continue till the Data Protection Bill comes into existence.

In the light of the same, the Bench directed WhatsApp to give wide publicity to the undertaking so that the users are aware of their stand.

The matter is now listed for directions on 11th April, 2023 (post the Budget session).

PPL & Novex vs State of Rajasthan- Rajasthan High Court stays operation of letter issued by the Additional Police Commissioner-I, Jaipur in relation to interpretation of Section 52(1)(za) of the Copyright Act

In connected writ petitions filed by PPL and Novex, respectively against a letter dated 7.12.2022 issued by the Additional Police Commissioner-I, Jaipur in relation to interpretation of Section 52(1)(za)* of the Copyright Act, 1957, the Rajasthan High Court has stayed the operation of the letter to the extent that this letter would not be treated as permission to any person hoteliers/event managers/DJs to play music/sound recordings for commercial purposes without obtaining license/permission from the registered copyright holders. The Court noted that the impugned letter will not deprive the petitioners to initiate legal proceedings, civil and criminal, as envisaged under the Act of 1957 against the persons who infringes copyrights of petitioners.

The Court took into account the decision by the Punjab & Haryana High Court in Novex Communications Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Union of India and Another where the Court had quashed the public notice issued by the Government of India with observation that such notice is without jurisdiction as respondents have no jurisdiction to interpret Section 52(1) (za) of the Act of 1957 in their own manner.

*Section 52 (1)(za) provides that the performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work or the communication to the public of such work or of a sound recording in the course of any bona fide religious ceremony or an official ceremony held by the Central Government or the State Government or any local authority shall not constitute as infringement of copyright. Explanation.—For the purpose of this clause, religious ceremony including a marriage procession and other social festivities associated with a marriage.

Read order here