Government issues Guidelines for using Broadcast Seva Portal/Press Council of India portal by Advertisers/Advertising Agencies for uploading Self-declaration Certificate following Supreme Court directive

The Supreme Court had issued a directive that all advertisers and advertising agencies submit a ‘Self-Declaration Certificate’ before publishing or broadcasting any advertisement. Subsequently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has introduced new features on the Broadcast Seva Portal for TV and radio ads, and on the Press Council of India’s portal for print and digital/Internet ads. Read here. The certificate must confirm that the advertisement (i) does not contain misleading claims, and (ii) complies with all relevant regulatory guidelines, including Rule 7 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, and the Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India. Advertisers must provide proof of uploading the certificate to the relevant media platform. Without a valid Self-Declaration Certificate, no advertisement will be allowed on television, print media, or the Internet. The certificate, signed by an authorized representative, must be submitted through these portals, which will be activated on June 4, 2024. All new advertisements issued/telecast/aired/published on or after June 18, 2024, must have this certificate. A two-week buffer period will be provided to help stakeholders familiarize themselves with the self-certification process. Ongoing advertisements do not currently require self-certification. Manisha Kapoor (CEO, and Secretary General of ASCI) acknowledged the challenge posed by the new certification requirements highlighting ASCI’s Advertising Advice service to help advertisers comply with the ASCI Code, which is part of the Advertising Code under the Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act. She noted that no ads would be permitted on any media without this certification. For more, see here.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) calls a meeting of media and ad bodies to discuss self-declarations

Following the Supreme Court’s directive requiring advertisers and ad agencies to submit a “self-declaration certificate” (“SDC”) before publishing, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has scheduled a meeting with industry bodies. The meeting, set for June 11, aims to address the implementation of SDCs for ads across TV, print, digital, and radio from June 18. Chaired by MIB Secretary Sanjay Jaju, the meeting will also include secretaries from the ministries of health, Ayush, and consumer affairs. Attendees will comprise members from the Indian Newspaper Society, Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation, Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), Advertising Standards Council of India, Internet and Mobile Association of India, Association of Radio Operators of India, Digital News Publishers of India (DNPA), Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Google, and Meta. These bodies have been instructed to send their seniormost representatives. The MIB emphasized the importance of this directive for transparency, consumer protection, and responsible advertising practices. ISA and DNPA have expressed concerns about the practicality of implementing the SDC due to the high volume of daily ads, however. For more, see here.

Bombay High Court has allowed the Release of the Film ‘Hamare Baarah’ after the Makers Agree To Delete Certain Controversial Dialogues 

The Bombay High Court allowed the release of ‘Hamare Baarah’ after the filmmakers agreed to delete certain controversial dialogues. The bench of Justices Kamal Khata and Rajesh S Patil handled a petition seeking to revoke the film’s certification by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The court stated that allowing individuals to stall the release of certified films would encourage holding producers to ransom. Earlier, another bench had stayed the film’s release, initially set for June 7, 2024, until June 14, 2024. However, the court permitted the release after the deletions were agreed upon, which the petitioner had claimed were derogatory. The petitioner argued that the film violated the Cinematograph Act, 1952, and was derogatory to the Islamic faith and married Muslim women in India. The court reviewed a CBFC panel’s report but expressed dissatisfaction as the panel requested more time instead of providing comments. Senior Advocate Rahul Narichania, representing the filmmakers, stated that the deletions were made without prejudice to their rights and contentions. The CBFC’s counsel, Advait Sethna, pointed out that fresh certification would be required if deletions were made. The court concluded that preventing the film’s exhibition, which was already certified by the CBFC, would unfairly harm the filmmakers. It cited previous judgments to emphasize that certified films should not be stalled. The court directed that from June 8, 2024, all shows would feature the new version with the deleted dialogues and instructed the filmmakers to apply to the CBFC Delhi for re-issuance of the certificate. Plus, it clarified that this voluntary deletion by the filmmakers was not mandated by the court and should not set a precedent. Further hearings were scheduled for June 13, 2024. For more, see here.

Karnataka Government Bans ‘Hamare Baarah’ Over Communal Tension Concerns

In furtherance of the above news bite, I have got one more on the same issue. The Karnataka Government has banned the release or broadcast of the film ‘Hamare Baarah’ for two weeks or until further notice, citing potential communal tension, according to ANI. This decision followed requests from minority organizations and a review of the film’s trailer. The film’s legal issues extend beyond Karnataka. The Bombay High Court had previously issued a stay order on the film’s release, scheduled for June 7, due to a petition by religious activists. However, the court lifted the injunction after a hearing, allowing the film to be released as planned. The court also directed the formation of a committee, including at least one Muslim member, to review the movie and submit a report by 9 am today. ‘Hamare Baarah,’ directed by Kamal Chandra and starring Annu Kapoor, Manoj Joshi, and Paritosh Tripathi, tackles themes of overpopulation with a bold narrative. Producers include Birender Bhagat, Ravi S Gupta, Sanjay Nagpal, and Sheo Balak Singh. Manoj Joshi emphasized that the film addresses topics such as women’s respect, education, employment, and empowerment, and is not intended to target any religion. He urged viewers to watch the film with their families. For more, see here.

Calcutta High Court grants limited stay on the injunction granted in favour of IPRS in appeal filed by Vodafone before division bench

In an appeal filed by Vodafone, the Calcutta High Court has granted a limited stay on the earlier injunction order dated 17th May 2024 till 24th June 2024 or until further orders whichever is earlier. Read more about the single bench decision directing Vodafone to pay publishing royalties to IPRS here. Read appeal order here.

Netflix sued in $170 mln ‘Baby Reindeer’ defamation lawsuit

The case in hand is Harvey v. Netflix Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 24-04744. As per the news reports, Netflix has been sued for at least $170 million by Fiona Harvey, a Scottish woman who claimed she was defamed by her portrayal as a stalker in the mini-series “Baby Reindeer.” She alleged that the show falsely suggested she was a twice-convicted stalker sentenced to five years in prison. Harvey, who identifies as the inspiration behind the character Martha, denies having stalked creator Richard Gadd or being convicted or imprisoned. She claims the show’s portrayal has led many to believe she is the “real” Martha, causing significant distress and damage to her reputation. Harvey’s complaint accuses Netflix and Gadd of prioritizing a compelling story over the truth, leading to her defamation. The lawsuit seeks at least $50 million each for actual damages, compensatory damages, including mental anguish and profits, and at least $20 million in punitive damages. Netflix has stated its intention to “defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.” This lawsuit follows Netflix’s recent settlement of a defamation suit by former prosecutor Linda Fairstein regarding her portrayal in “When They See Us.” Netflix agreed to move a disclaimer about characters being altered for dramatic purposes to the start of episodes and to donate $1 million to a nonprofit aiding the wrongfully convicted. For more, see here.

DHC Imposed a huge ….  INR 217 Crores as Damages in a Patent Dispute

While we don’t generally publish any news about patents given the blog’s focus on media and entertainment law, this news, I felt, shouldn’t be missed. For, such decisions don’t come daily, (fortunately!). So, I am talking about the recent decision of the Delhi High Court,  Communication Components Antenna v. Mobi Antenna Technologies, which awarded Canadian company Communication Components Antenna Inc. (CCAI) a staggering INR 217 Crores (US$26.1 million) in compensatory damages. (That’s a load of money …) This came after the Court found Chinese corporation Mobi Antenna Technologies (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. guilty of infringing on CCAI’s patent for innovative telecom antenna technology. Judge Jyoti Singh delivered the verdict on May 16, 2024, following a thorough examination of evidence from both parties. I will not get into the nitty-gritty but in brief, the case centered on CCAI’s Indian Patent No. IN240893, titled “Asymmetrical Beams for Spectrum Efficiency,” which pertains to a novel design for telecom antennas that allows for adjustable beam patterns, enhancing spectrum efficiency. Mobi was accused of violating this patent, and the Court agreed, finding their actions constituted patent infringement. To determine the appropriate compensation for CCAI, the Court focused on the lost profits incurred due to Mobi’s infringement. The evidence indicated that CCAI lost a significant market share amounting to 47,355 units, with a profit margin of $550 per unit. This calculation resulted in a damage award of ₹217,47,78,375 (approximately ₹217 crores or US$26.1 million). For more, see Praharsh Gour’s critical post at SpicyIP, here.

Delhi High Court Grants Interim Relief to Domino’s in Trademark Dispute with Donito’s

The Delhi High Court has granted interim relief to Domino’s Pizza by restraining a Punjab-based food chain, MG Foods, from using the trademark “Donito’s,” which was found to be deceptively similar to “Domino’s.” Justice Anish Dayal ruled in favor of Domino’s, highlighting that the balance of convenience and potential irreparable harm justified the injunction. The court ordered MG Foods to remove all references to “Donito’s” from their website and social media within a week. Domino’s had discovered the infringement through a YouTube video and argued that the “Donito’s” mark, used for pizzas and burgers, was phonetically and visually similar to its own. The court recognized the significant goodwill associated with the Domino’s trademark and noted the likelihood of consumer confusion, setting the next hearing for October 15. Read order here.