Lok Sabha passes the Telecommunications Bill, 2023 to replace 138-year-old Indian Telegraph Act

On 20th December 2023, the Lok Sabha passed the Telecommunications Bill 2023 to replace the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933 and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act of 1950. The Bill aims to reshape the regulatory and licensing regime for telecommunications and remove bottlenecks in creating telecom infrastructure. The Bill provides for the government to temporarily take control of telecom services in the interest of national security, and providing a non-auction route for allocating of the satellite spectrum. The bill, presented by Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, provides for stopping transmission and intercepting messages in case of public emergency, in the interest of the public, to prevent incitement for committing offence.

Bombay High Court holds that inquiry into ‘Groundless Legal Proceedings’ cannot conclusively determine question of copyright Infringement

In the case of Manya Vejju vs Sapna Bhog, the Bombay High Court held that an inquiry into groundless legal proceedings cannot conclusively determine the question of copyright infringement. Justice N.J Jamadar while presiding in a single bench held that it would be hazardous to lay down an abstract proposition that the FIR does not amount to threat of groundless action or that once FIR is filed, main part of Section 60 ceases to operate eo instante. In such a scenario, a proper question to be posed is, whether the FIR satisfies the description of an “action”.

Scenes with ‘Vimalaya’ products to be altered in the Kannada film Aachar and Co. after Himalaya files a copyright suit

In Himalaya Wellness Company and Others vs PRK Productions LLP, Justice Pratibha M Singh has given an ultimatum of 15 days to the filmmakers of the Kannada film, Aachar and Co to implement the proposed changes directed by the Delhi High Court and provide the revised version to Himalaya’s counsel for confirmation. A copyright and trademark infringement suit was filed by Himalaya after it was showcased in the said film, products allegedly named as ‘Vimalaya’ subtlety hinting at the wellness company. The company was offended by certain movie scenes in which the lead character was seen going door-to-door selling “Vimalaya” items, specifically “Liv 52,” “Geriforte,” and “Evecare.”. The suit filed by Himalaya also challenged the false advertising of their products and brand.

Kerala High Court refuses to stay release of Mohanlal starrer ‘Neru’ on plea alleging plagiarism

A Single Bench of the Kerala High Court consisting of J. Devan Ramachandran refused to stay release of the film ‘Neru’ starring South Indian actor, Mohanlal. However, the Court issued a legal notice to the makers on a writ petition filed by a scriptwriter, Deepak Unni alleging that the exact script written by him has been stolen by the Director and Screenplay writer of the film, Jeethu Joseph. Deepak alleged that the Director forcibly bought a copy version of his story which is based on the genre of an dramatic and emotional legal courtroom drama during a meeting held 3 years ago.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Dunki distributors refuse to share screens with Prabhas’ Salaar

A trade source told Indianexpress.com that Dunki team has given out a clear-cut clause that they don’t want to share the screen with Salaar. “The clause says, either give us all four shows, or don’t give any. And if you don’t give us, then we will also see what to do in future with other films.” Dunki is being distributed by Pen Marudhar while Salaar is released by Anil Thadani’s AA Films.

Gauri Khan receives notice from ED

Gauri Khan is endorsing Tulsiani Group which is a real estate firm based in Lucknow.

The firm has duped investors and banks for Rs 30 crores after which Gauri Khan received notices from ED.

Rhea Chakraborty seeks permission to travel abroad for brand event

The CBI is investigating whether Rhea is still associated with the company to determine her eligibility to travel for the event.

Rhea is accused for alleged abetting the suicide of the late actor Sushant Singh by his family.

Screenwriter Gazal Dhaliwal calls out director Sandeep Reddy Vanga for not sharing writing credits for Animal

Gazal highlighted the discrepancy in credits, where Vanga is credited as the ‘writher – editor – director’ while other co-writers are not given due credit.

Naveen-ul-Haq banned for 20 months from ILT20 due to breach of contract

Naveen had signed up for the Warriors for the opening season of the tournament. He was offered another year’s extension but refused to sign the retention notice for Season 2.

Madras High Court rules in favour of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation over ‘KSRTC’ trademark rights

The Madras High Court dismissed a petition filed by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation challenging the Karnataka counterpart’s usage of the term ‘KSRTC’. The Court observed that for several years both the corporations have been using the acronym and providing bus services across their respective regions. It all started when the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation in 2021 brought about a claim that the Trademark Registry had granted exclusive rights to them to use the trademark KSRTC. Both the parties reached the IPAB at Chennai for the same and after the abolition of the said board, the matter was transferred to the Madras High Court.

The Judge observed as follows:

Section 12 of the Act does not require neck-to-neck concurrency and it is sufficient if the relevant trade-marks have been used concurrently over a material length of time. Even otherwise, the case would fall within the scope of ‘other special circumstances’ in Section 12.”

Royal Enfield Is Well Known Trademark In Motor Industry: Madras High Court Restrains Service Centre From Using Mark For Goods & Services

The Madras High Court recently declared the word “ Royal Enfield”, a popular motor bike company brand as a well-known trademark under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The Court thereby prohibited a service centre from using the trademark in promotion and sale of its products, as well displaying its store as an authorised Royal Enfield store. J. Abdul Quddhose in a single bench affirmed the tag of a well-known trademark to Royal Enfield. The Court affirmed Royal Enfield’s proprietary rights, standard outlet patterns, and compliance to brand identity standards. It concluded that the Defendant service centre not only copied essential features but also engaged in trademark infringement and passing off, leading to the issuance of a permanent injunction in favor of Enfield.

Kerala HC Directs Facebook-India To Allow Ex-Judge Account Access To Delete Offensive Post Against Asianet News Editor

Since the post was removed only from India and not globally, the Court had directed Facebook-India to submit an affidavit regarding the compliance of its order.

Delhi High Court Cancels Copyright Registration Of ‘Arras The Boss’ In Suit By Perfume Brand ‘Hugo Boss’

The Delhi High Court has cancelled the copyright registration of ‘Arras The Boss’, obtained by an individual selling perfumes, in a suit filed by perfumery brand ‘Hugo Boss’.Justice Prathiba M Singh said that ‘Arras The Boss’ is an imitative mark and artistic work and not an original artistic work.

Jonathan Majors found guilty of assault and harassment. Marvel fires him

The actor’s conviction could see him facing up to one-year imprisonment and has upended Marvel’s plans for the franchise, which had his character Kang the Conqueror front and center in multiple upcoming films.

The studio will not be moving forward with Jonathan Majors, a source briefed on the decision told AFP after it was reported by US entertainment media.

Major Web Novel Piracy Site Shut Down Following Operator Arrest

Major crackdowns on piracy sites continue as a joint U.S-Korea operation brings down the largest web novel site in the country.

The operation was a joint effort between the American DHS and the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Copyright Commission. It’s estimated that the unnamed site had approximately 21.7 million users this year and earned around $260,000 through offering advertisements.

AI cannot patent inventions, UK Supreme Court confirms

Technologist Dr Stephen Thaler had sought to have his AI, called Dabus, recognised as the inventor of a food container and a flashing light beacon.

Now five Supreme Court judges have dismissed a bid to reverse those decisions, concluding that “an inventor must be a person”, and that an AI cannot be named as an inventor to secure patent rights.

The judgement does not deal with the issue of whether Dabus did in fact invent the food container and light.

‘Lord Of The Rings’ Fan Fiction Author Sued For Copyright After Publishing His Own Sequel

According to the BBC, US-based author Demetrious Polychron published a book called ‘The Fellowship of the King’ in 2022. He described the book as the “pitch-perfect sequel” to JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’. However, in April 2023, Mr Polychron attempted to sue the estate of JRR Tolkien and Amazon over the spin-off TV series ‘The Rings of Power’, which he claimed infringed the copyright in his book.

The US court ruled that Mr Polychron must stop distributing copies of the book and destroy all physical and electronic copies. The court also awarded lawyers’ fees totalling $134,000 to the Tolkien estate and Amazon in connection with Polychron’s lawsuit.

US jury says Disney owes $600k in motion-capture copyright trial

Disney should pay nearly $600,000 in copyright damages for using another company’s motion-capture technology to make its 2017 live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” a federal jury in California said in a verdict.

A Disney spokesperson said that the company was “gratified that the jury properly rejected Rearden’s request for $38 million in profits” from the movie.

Warner Brothers Discovery explores merger

Warner Brothers Discovery chief executive David Zaslav met with Paramount Global boss Bob Bakish to discuss the possibility of merging the companies.

Google loses anti-trust case against videogame maker Epic Games

Fortnite maker, Epic Games succeeded in an anti-trust case against Google alleging that the Play Store app operated as an illegal monopoly. The game makers accused Google of involving in actions that quash competitors and the charging of upto 30% fees to app developers. If this ruling stays strong then it would be a good news for the developers and getting in control over how their apps are distributed and how they profit off them.

Pulitzer-winning authors join OpenAI, Microsoft copyright lawsuit

A total of 11 non-fiction authors including renowned Pulitzer Prize winners Stacy Schiff, Taylor Branch, and Kai Bird have launched a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against tech companies OpenAI and Microsoft. The lawsuit alleges the misuse of the authors’ literary works and copyright to train artificial intelligence models, notably OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other AI-driven software. This legal move brings about that that OpenAI and Microsoft profited significantly from the unauthorised use of these non-fiction books, demanding fair compensation and redressal for the authors’ contributions.