Spotify beware – Indian broadcasting licensing scheme may not cover streaming
Copyright / May 2020

COPYRIGHT: A recent ruling against and Indian streaming service could have important implications for Spotify in its battle with Warners in the country and it’s plans to launch in the Indian market. The Bombay High Court (Justice S.J. Kathawalla) has now made its decision Tips Industries Limited vs Wynk Music Ltd with (judgement dated April 23, 2019) and and has found for Indian record label Tips against a local streaming service based, Wynk. The dispute began in 2017 when Tips and Wynk failed to agree new licensing terms. Tips then told Wynk to remove its catalogue from the service, but Wynk responded by saying it didn’t have to because it was covered by a compulsory licence under Indian law that was traditionally intended for broadcasters. Tips then brought a legal action for copyright infringement.  Justice SJ Kathawalla has now ruled in favour of the label, saying that Wynk was “knowingly infringing upon the plaintiff’s copyrights”. He also dismissed claims by Wynk that the label was simply trying to force its hand in licensing negotiations. The judge noted the increase in digital music companies claiming protection under Section 31-D of India’s Copyright Act but ruled that  this “amounts to usurpation of the exclusive rights of the owners to commercially rent,…

Delhi High Court rules that three Indian collection societies must cease to issue licences
Copyright , Live Events / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   In a blow to three Indian music copyright collection societies, the Delhi High Court has restrained them from granting any such licence till April 24th 2017. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, in an interim order, restrained the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) and Novex Communications Pvt Ltd from contravening section 33 of Copyright Act,  which provides that only registered societies can grant licences in respect of copyrighted work(s).   In the order issued on the 23rd December the court ruled:   “Since the respondent 1 (Centre) and 2 (Copyright Office) have already initiated an inquiry and are taking action vis-a-vis the respondents 3 (PPL) and 4 (IPRS) and their stand is that neither of the three respondents, i.e 3, 4 and 5 (Novex) are registered in terms of section 33 of the Act, till the next date of hearing, respondents 3 to 5 are restrained from acting in contravention of section 33 of the Act..”. The  court listed the matter for a further hearing on April 24th.   In July 2015, the Delhi Organisers and Artists Society and the Mumbai based Organisers and Artists Welfare Trust said that the IPRS and PPL had been de-registered…

Coldplay’s Indian debut overcomes legal challenge
Live Events , Taxation / December 2016

TAXATION Live events sector   Coldplay’s debut show in India has been allowed to go ahead, following the failure of a legal challenge in the High Court of Bombay. Anti-corruption activists Anjali Damania and Hemant Gavande challenged a decision by the Maharashtra state government, which had waived entertainment duty on the concert: their challenge was based on the argument that the British band’s performance at the not-for-profit Global Citizen festival would not qualify as an educational or charitable activity, as required by the Bombay Entertainments Duty Act 1923. The event, at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, also features Jay-Z, Demi Levato and a host of local acts.   Judges Manjula Chellur and MS Sonak found in favour of Global Citizen and acting advocate-general Rohit Deo, who said the festival was “an eight-hour programme, and the concert by Coldplay is just part of it. The festival is to create awareness of three subjects: gender equality, education and clean water”. Deo said that only 11,000 out of the 80,000 tickets would be sold, and 65,000 would be free to those who have demonstrated their commitment to positive social change – as with previous Global Citizen events: tickets could be won by promoting the charity’s work (by,…

Bombay blues for Indian songwriter
Artists , Censorship / March 2015

CENSORSHIP Artistes, sound recordings   An Indian songwriter who used ‘Bombay’ to rhyme with ‘today’ has seen his song censored when it was used in a television show – with the pre 1995 name for Mumbai removed. Censors stood by their decision to bleep out ‘Bombay’ in Mihir Joshi’s song Sorry about the gang rape of a girl on a Delhi bus, saying using the old name provoked ‘unnecessary controversy’.  The renaming of cities in India started in 1947, following the end of the British imperial period in India, and continues today.  In 1995 the Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena won elections in the state of Maharashtra and presided over a coalition that took control of the state assembly. After the election, the party announced that the port city had been renamed after the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, the city’s patron deity. Federal agencies, local businesses, and newspapers were ordered to adopt the change.

NCP politician asks for Goan festival tax
Licensing , Taxation / January 2015

LICENSING / TAXATION Live events sector   An Indian politician has questioned the “arbitrary fee” of 1 crore levied by the BJP-led government on the organizers of an electronic dance music (EDM) festivals in the state, of Goa. NCP leader Trajano D’Mello asked the government to propose a new law taxation for music festivals saying “If you are levying a fee, it should be permitted by law. There should be proper classification of taxation. ” Pointing out that if the government was not providing any correlated service, even though it was charging a fee, D’Mello said the license fee amounts to a tax. “If a tax is being levied, then there has to be authorization by law. Admittedly in this case there is no authorization by law, there is no legislation authorizing the government to permit hosting of music festivals in the state of Goa,” added Rohit Bras de Sa, an advocate, who was also at a December press conference staged as two EDM events got underway at Candolim and Vagator. De Sa and D’Mello also suggested that the government conduct random blood tests at the music festivals to see whether drugs are being consumed. They also suggested that the…

IFPI report confirms modest growth in recorded music revenues

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has published its annual Recording Industry In Numbers report for 2013. The global recorded music industry saw its revenues increase very slightly by 0.2% in 2012, the first increase since 1999. Growth in digital revenues, including those from the rapidly expanding subscription and streaming service domain, coupled with boosted income from a number of emerging markets, combined to help compensate for the continued decline in physical product sales. Digital now accounts for 35% of the wider record industry’s global trade revenues, and of this paid for downloads account for around 80% – although in Europe subscription and streaming are now bringing in a third of digital income. Digital generated $5.6 billion in 2012, up 8% on 2011. Physical products bring in 57% of the money worldwide and CD sales topped $9.4 billion with 833 million CDs sold, down from 910 million in 2011 and 2.4 billion sold in 2000.The remaining income is from other licensing-based revenue streams, chiefly performance (PPL) rights, which now account for 6% of income overall. Sync licensing saw modest growth in 2012. Brazil, India and Mexico have all seen market growth since 2008 (of…

Tata family seek to ban Bollywood film
Defamation , Music Publishing / November 2012

DEFAMATION Film and television, music publishing   Two of India’s richest families lave launched a legal action against one of Bollywood’s leading film directors in an attempt to block the release of a new film which is a ‘searing attack’ them an a devastating critique of India’s rich elite. Tata Sons, part of the Tata Group, has confirmed it had filed a lawsuit against a song contained in Chakravyuh, featured in the thriller directed by Prakash Jha. The song accuses Indian billionaires of unbridled corruption and “robbing the pockets of the poor”.  A second lawsuit has been filed by the Birla family which controls a business empire spanning insurance, cement, metals and machine tools. A third lawsuit has been filed by Bata, India’s biggest show company, also seeking an injunction against the song Mehangai. A fourth family named in the song, the Ambanis, have yet to file a complaint. The Times  19th October 2012

Katy Perry faces Indian claim for indecency
Artists , Censorship / August 2012

CENSORSHIP Artistes   Being taught how to hold a cricket bat seems to have landed Katy Perry in a spot of bother in India after lawyer filed a complaint about an “obscene and lascivious” on-stage incident that occurred when the singer played at the launch of the Twenty20 cricket season earlier this year. It seems  Perry invited Australian cricketer Doug Bollinger on stage during her show, and asked him to demonstrate how to hold a cricket bat. This resulted in Bollinger standing immediately behind Perry, and both singer and cricketer holding on to Perry’s microphone at groin height. A sequence that lawyer K Jebakumar believes was designed to appeal “to prurient interest”. Neither Perry nor Bollinger have been formally charged as yet and will not attend the initial court hearing to consider Jebakumar’s complaint, though if the courts believe there is a case under India’s obscenity laws, then they might be forced to defend their performance in court later this year.

Trolls unmasked by mum

INTERNET Technology, Criminal Law, Data Protection The High Court has ordered that Facebook must reveal the IP addresses of internet ‘trolls’ who abused a woman user after she posted comments supporting failed X-factor contestant Frankie Cocozza. Nicola Brookes (45) received more than 100 ‘vicious and depraved’ messages, and trolls then set up a fake profile in her name and image– spamming Cocozza’s 98,000 online fans and seemingly suggesting that Brookes wanted to lure young girls.  Some messages falsely described her as a drug dealer, a prostitute, a paedophile and known child abuser, and others attempted to ‘befriend’ young girls. Her home address and personal email address were published. Sussex Police did not successfully intervene in Ms Brookes’ case, but Liam Stacey, received a 56 day prison sentencing after tweeting racist abuses about Bolton Wanderer footballer Fabrice Muamba after he collapsed with a heart attack during a premiership match against Tottenham Hotspur in March. Ms Brookes still uses Facebook. Solicitors Bains Cohen agreed to take the case pro bono and Rupinder Bains said Facebook had not contested the Norwich Pharmacal  action, and had agreed to hand over the information within six weeks. In India global hacking movement Anonymous has called for…

Bollywood moguls react with anger to India’s new copyright law
Copyright / June 2012

COPYRIGHT All areas   Bollywood has reacted with anger to the new Indian Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which seeks to protect owners of literary and musical works and which has been passed by the Rajya Sabha (543-0) and will be presented to the Lok Sabha before it becomes law, much to the delight of singers, script writers, lyricists and composers. But some music and film companies feel that it is “extremely unfair”. The new Act is said to be “empowering the creative sector” and strengthens the royalty claims of artistes, song and script writers, musicians and addresses newer issues related to the digital world and the Internet. The legislation was approved by the Rajya Sabha on May 17th and law provides that authors are the owners of the copyright for their creative work and that this right cannot be assigned to producers, as has been common the practice. The Act also makes it mandatory for broadcasters from both the radio and television industry to pay royalty to the owners of copyright each time a work of art is broadcast. The law also bans cover versions of literary, dramatic or musical work for five years from the first recording of the original…

Bollywood rejoice!
Copyright , Internet / April 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet The High Court in Calcutta, India, has responded to a complaint from music industry trade body IMI by ruling that access to 104 alleged copyright-infringing music websites must be blocked at ISP level. India’s Internet service providers will utilize DNS and IP-based blocking as well as “deep packet inspection” to block access to the sites which include, and Frances Moore, chief executive of worldwide recording industry rights group IFPI said “”This decision is a victory for the rule of law online and a blow to those illegal businesses that want to build revenues by violating the rights of others” adding  “It highlights the importance the Indian courts place on the creative industries and their contribution to the economy. The court ruled that blocking is a proportionate and effective way to tackle website piracy. The Indian government should build on this progress by moving forward legislation to effectively tackle all forms of digital piracy to enable the country’s digital music market to reach its full potential.” With a large proportion of music sales in India tied to the movie industry both sectors will no doubt be pleased with the court’s actions. “There is a lot to be…

Bollywood film faces Iranian strike
Copyright / April 2012

COPYRIGHT Film industry My new favourite copyright read, the Hindustan Times, reports that just as the song Pungi Bajaa Kar from Saif Ali Khan’s soon to be released remake of the spy thriller Agent Vinod, is gaining popularity, an Iranian band has slapped a legal notice on music director Pritam Chakraborty and the film’s distributors for alleged copyright violation. The band, Barobax Corp. was founded in 2003 by three Iranian nationals Kashayar Haghgoo, Kevian Haghgoo and Hamid Farouzmand and claim that they had already released the song as a track on their 2010 album Soosan Khanoom saying “On March 12 this year, the band came across the promotions of the movie Agent Vinod on satellite television in Iran. The song Pungi Baja De was being aired. On listening to the song, the band realised that the initial portion of the song is lifted without any change from the title song of their album” further stating “We demand the music director, producers and directors to refrain from releasing the song in the movie or use it to promote the movie. Failing to do so, the band shall be compelled to initiate proceedings to seek a restraining order and necessary compensation”. According…

Updates from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation on global broadcasting issues
Regulation / January 2012

BROADCASTING REGULATION Broadcasting The EFF reports that the Indian Telecommunications Minister has met with top officials of Internet companies and social media sites, including the Indian units of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, to try to compel them to filter offensive content. The New York Times reported that Minister Kapil Sibal met with executives to ask the companies to create internal mechanisms that would prevent any comments the state deemed “disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory” towards political and religious figures. A Belgian Internet watchdog group (NURPA) has reported that one of the three major mobile Internet providers in Belgium, Base, voluntarily started blocking access to the Pirate Bay. This block comes after a case initiated by the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation, in which an Antwerp Court of Appeals ordered two major fixed broadband providers to block access to the Pirate Bay at the DNS level. EFF also reports from Thailand, which declared at the start of December that Facebook users “liking” or sharing content offensive to the Thai throne could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison; Joe Gordon, an American-Thai who translated a banned biography of Thailand’s king and posted the content online while living in Colorado was sentenced to…

Major knockback for IPRS in Indian broadcast claim
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing In a judgment I found extremely surprising, the Bombay High Court have decided that the owner of a sound recording can authorize the public communication of that sound recording and that no royalty is payable to the owner of the underlying works – here music and lyrics (Music Broadcast Private Limited v Indian Performing Right Society Limited, before S. J. Vadzifdar J). The Indian Performing Rights Society (IRPS) have claimed a royalty when a ‘sound recording’ is ‘communicated to the public’ in many proceedings before various courts in India. The members of the IPRS are the authors of literary and musical works. The IPRS has always claimed that they are entitled to claim royalty when ‘work’  – which is embodied in the sound recording – is communicated to the public through broadcast on radio in the sound recording. IPRS claims that, in the absence of a licence from IPRS, such communication of sound recordings amounts to infringement of copyright of the members of the IPRS in the underlying works embodied in the sound recording. The radio broadcasters have valid licences to broadcast the sound recordings from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), the collection society for owners of sound…

India’s police bemoan ineffective piracy laws
Copyright / May 2011

COPRIGHT Film and television, sound recordings The Deccan Chronicle reports on police comments  that Indian the law tackling the DVD and CD piracy lacks teeth with a police spokesperson saying “We keep on arresting vendors and distributors of pirated CDs and DVDs but most of them get bails on the same day. As this piracy is an organized operation, use of the provisions of Goonda Act might prove useful in dealing with the issue,” they say. Police recently arrested 10 vendors and seized more than 7,000 pirated CDs in Aluva but the accused were bailed the same day by the magistrates court. The vendors are booked under sections of Indian Copyright Act, 1957 (for CD or DVD piracy) and if a computer is used in the crime, sections of The Information Technology Act, 2,000 are added to the case. However sub-Inspector  Mohammed Nissar said “what normally happens is that the accused would claim before the magistrate that the CDs don’t belong to them. As it’s difficult to prove otherwise, they get bail”  Police officials point out that use of provisions of The Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 2007, widely known as Goonda Act, could give a boost to tackle CD…

Right royal ruckus up over new Bollywood copyright proposals
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2011

COPYRIGHT Film industry, music publishing It seems that Indian film music composers may have to look for other avenues of employment if Bollywood film producers make good their threat and stop producing films in protest against proposed new copyright legislation – or find music from other sources.  The Times of India reports that a Parliamentary Standing committee has recommended that the Copyright Amendment Bill 2010 should provide that film producers give authors, lyricists and composers an ongoing royalty from a film – and shared ownership.  Award winning producer Yash Chopra, who along with other film producers had made several presentations before the Committee said, “Ours is the entertainment business, yet like the alcohol or tobacco industry we have to pay huge taxes in the form of VAT, service tax and stamp duty. Now if the Copyright Bill is passed it will be the end of us as it will be very difficult to make films.” Echoing this was producer Boney Kapoor who told the Times of India: “We are already burdened with so many taxes and if this is implemented it would be difficult to sustain ourselves”. Another producer said that if the revisions are implemented iit will only lead…

Bollywood star threatens legal action over ‘fake’ in advert
Artists , Image Rights / December 2010

IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes Amitabh Bachan, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, is threatening legal action over a tobacco advert that features a ‘sound alike’ of the actor promoting gutka, a mixture of chewing tobacco, crushed betel nuts and spices. Bachan, who says he does not smoke nor would he promote smoking, says the advert is unethical and paints him in a bad light and that  he will ‘take steps to stop this illegal practice’ saying ‘manufacturers of products be it toothpaste or a car or a mobile spend huge amounts of money and time and management to build its brand value with certain credibility. For it then to be destroyed through unfair and illegal means is not acceptable. In the USA, image rights have been extended to include cover ‘look alikes’ (Onassis v Christian Dior) and even ‘sound alikes’ – the 1988 case of Bette Midler v Ford Motor Co found that hiring a sound alike vocalist to impersonate Bette Midler in an advertisement was “to impersonate her voice’ and thus was ‘ to pirate her identity’ just as Dior’s action in using a Christine Onassis look alike model had infringed her rights. Bette Midler v Ford Motor Co (1988) 849 F 2d 460 Onassis…

US puts Canada on the naughty step
Copyright / June 2009

COPYRIGHT All areas The US has added Canada to a list of its top twelve of countries which persistently fail to protect intellectual property rights alongside China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela  While there has been much criticism in the past from the US and elsewhere regarding Canada’s copyright laws, and their failure to take on physical bootleggers as well as the ever growing population of online pirates, it is the first time the Americans have put their Northern neighbours on their “priority watch list” of IP abusers. The report from the US Trade Representative that revealed Canada had been added to the watch list noted: “We urge Canada to enact legislation in the near term to strengthen its copyright laws and implement relevant World Intellectual Property Organisation treaties [which Canada signed up to over a decade ago but never incorporated into its copyright laws]. The United States also continues to urge Canada to improve its IP enforcement system to enable authorities to take effective action against the trade in counterfeit and pirated products within Canada, as well as curb the volume of infringing products transshipped and transiting through Canada”. Read more on ‘At…

Warners Brothers fail to enchant India’s High Court over Hari Puttar
Trade Mark / November 2008

TRADE MARK Film, television Hari Puttar hit cinemas last month in India and the producers of the film also walked into the High Court after Warner Brothers accused the makers that they ‘unfairly sought to confuse consumers and benefit from the well-known and well-loved Harry Potter brand. Justice Reva Khetrapal disagreed with the US film giant concluding that the film going public were smart enough to make up their own minds between the ‘Comedy of Terrors’ that is Hari Puttra and the seven series Harry Potter books about the boy wizard saying that as the Harry Potter books catered for an educated person ‘such a person must be taken to be astute enough between a Harry Potter film and another titled Hari Puttar. In fact it seems Warners should have saved their money as the film has gad dreadful reviews in India and the ‘Home Alone’ plot has left the few paying customers who have gone to see the film disappointed. The Observer 28 th September 2008

Absolutely fabtastic – new Virgin Radio name sails into rocky water
Trade Mark / November 2008

TRADE MARK Broadcasting In June the Times of India Group brought Virgin Radio from SMG for £53.2 million and had to rebrand the rock radio station in India because they compete with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in that country and as Branson still holds the rights to the name Virgin Radio in the UK, The Times Of India’s rebranded their new UK radio company as Absolute Radio (as part of its new management company, Absolute Radio International). But V&S (Vin & Spirit) the proprietor of Absolut (the trade mark of Swedish vodka) was less than impressed and has commenced proceedings against the rebranded Virgin Radio, Absolute Radio. As well as the vodka trade mark V&S owns the Absolut TRacks music project, and claims Virgin Radio is infringing its trade mark and passing its services off as those of V&S. A spokeswoman for V&S stated, “The reason for this is that we consider there is a risk of confusion. We have a well known brand and there is an obvious risk of confusion between Absolut vodka and Absolute Radio. We have filed a complaint and now we go into the legal process.”

India’s PPL cannot litigate in respect of unauthorised performances
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2008

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, collection societies Phonographic Performance Limited v Hotel Gold Regency and others (MANU/DE/0942/2008) From our friends at Spicy IP and the IPKat In a landmark decision, Phonographic Performance Limited v Hotel Gold Regency and others , the Delhi High Court has held that copyright societies such as PPL, representing the interest of the music companies, cannot initiate copyright infringement actions to protect the interest of their members against unauthorized public performances of sound recordings in India. The Court found that the Indian copyright statute only permits a copyright owner or its exclusive licensee to initiate an action for infringement. Since PPL is neither the copyright owner or the exclusive licensee of the sound recording of its member companies, it is debarred from initiating such actions against unauthorized communication of the sound recordings to the public through a radio broadcast or a telecast or any other public performance. Clearly this decision will create enormous difficulties for the copyright society PPL and its member music companies in enforcing their copyrights and can have a deep impact in the collection of royalties for public performances of sound recordings. Music companies have granted authorisations to PPL to administer their right of communication to the public…

Bollywood filmmaker pays up for plagiarised song

COPYRIGHT Music publishing A Bollywood filmmaker has been ordered to pay 20 million rupees ($5 million) to a songwriter after the Bombay High Court ruled that Mumbai-based Rakesh Roshan’s film production company Filmkraft had copied fromm a sing by composer Ram Sampath. Sampath claimed two tracks and two remixes from Roshan’s latest film “Krazzy 4” were lifted from a jingle Sampath composed last year for a commercial for Sony Ericsson mobiles. Mr Justice D. G. Karnik ruled that Rakesh and his composer brother, Rajesh Roshan (who composed the “Krazzy 4” soundtrack), were “prima facie guilty of copyright violations and plagiarism,” adding that “to my untrained ear, the music (in the two works) appeared to be similar.” Initially the the court had passed a stay order (injunction) blocking the film’s release until the disputed songs were removed. But that order was lifted and the case dismissed after Filmkraft agreed to pay Sampath damages and give due credit.

Indian Label gets order against YouTube
Copyright , Internet / December 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet One of India’s biggest record and movie companies, Mumbai-based Super Cassettes Industries Ltd, has told local media that it has obtained a court order that prohibits YouTube India from carrying any of its music or videos. The order follows legal action taken by SCIL against YouTube and its parent Google earlier in the year. SCIL said in a statement this weekend: “The business model of YouTube allows, encourages and profits from use of copyrighted work uploaded on the website without obtaining any license or permission from the rightful copyright owners and without paying them any royalty”. The company’s MD, Bhushan Kumar, added: “There are websites that encourage unlicensed sharing and distribution of copyright content, which is a new form of piracy in the digital medium. Copyright is the engine of creative output of popular content. We have to ensure that the incentive to create and distribute popular content is protected from these large corporations, which are trying to profit by destroying the value of the hard work of thousands of artists, for whom their creative output is perhaps their only source of livelihood”. CMU Daily 12 November 2007

Indian religious festival falls foul of Potter magic
Copyright / November 2007

COPYRIGHT Film & TV The Delhi High Court has partially dismissed a claim from Harry Potter author JK Rowling and film producers Warner Bros against organisers of a religious event who constructed a replica of the fictional Hogwarts School complete with a marble staircase and stone flagged hall, all lit with flaming torches.  The writer had brought a claim in copyright law seeking 2 million rupees (£25,000) in damages. The Scholl replica will be remain standing until the end of the festivities in what appears to be a common sense judgment. However the Court took a dim view over adverts featuring ‘Potteresque’ characters used to promote the event and banned the use of these by organisers of the Durga Pjua festivities in Calcutta. The festivities begin on October 16th and last for four days. Event organisers were told that any future use of any material from Harry Potter would need the permission of the author. See

IFPI continue actions against file swappers
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2006

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Legal actions against thousands of music file-sharers across the world have been announced as the recording industry stepped up its campaign to deter copyright theft and promote legitimate use of music on the internet. Over 8,000 new cases in 17 countries are being announced today, including the first ever cases against illegal file-sharing in the two biggest markets of South America and in Eastern Europe.   A total of more than 13,000 legal actions have now been taken outside the United States. Legal actions are being extended to Brazil, where more than one billion music tracks were illegally downloaded last year and a country where record company revenues have nearly halved since 2000. Mexico and Poland are also seeing actions for the first time – while a further 14 countries are launching fresh actions against illegal file-sharing.  Over 2,300 of people have already paid the price for illegally file-sharing copyrighted material, with average legal settlements of €2,420.   Many of those on the receiving end of legal action are parents whose children have been illegally file-sharing.  They are finding that in many countries they are liable for any activities third parties undertake using their internet connection.  In…

Delhi court hold PPL levy illegal
Copyright , Live Events / March 2006

COPYRIGHT Live Concert Industry The Delhi High Court has restrained the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) from collecting more than 15 per cent of the special licence fee it planned to levy for playing recorded music. The bench comprising Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice H.R. Malhotra issued the interim order based on writ petitions filed by various hotel owners through the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI), which challenged the enhanced special fees and annual fees imposed by PPL and the Indian Performing Rights’ Society (IPRS). Counsel for NRAI Anip Sach, they challenged the imposition of the special licence fee and annual licence fee by the two organisations as ‘‘illegal and arbitrary’’.

Indian Court Upholds the Moral Rights of the Author
Artists , Copyright / January 2006

COPYRIGHT Artists, authors Article: By Manisha Singh Nair, Lex Orbis An interesting case review from India where the Delhi High Court decided that where the owner (not being the author) of a copyright work (here a bronze sculpture or mural) treats the work in a manner that is prejudicial to the reputation and honor of the author, the Court may transfer all rights over the work to the author – here granting physical possession of the mural back to the creating artist.

Trademarks in India
Trade Mark / September 2005

TRADEMARKS General This is a link to the article India: Trade Marks: Identity that Demands Protection by Rajkumar Dubey (Dubey & Partners, Advocates) which gives a good descriptive account of trade mark law in India. See:

New independent publishing company set up in India
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2005

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing A French national, Achille Forler, who has been living in India since 1969, has set up the country’s first independent music publishing house after paying $3m to buy or administer rights to compositions which include some by leading Bollywood composers and lyricists like KL Saigal, RD Burman, Javed Akhtar and Anu Malik. He has also bought the music to films such as Satyajit Ray’s period classic Shatranj Ke Khiladi and Basu Chatterjee’s Rajnigandha. Deep Emotions Publishing has also signed an agreement with BMG Music Publishing and a further $12 million has been set aside for catalogue acquisitions. He says Sacem, the French society of authors, composers and publishers of music, collected $400,000 in royalties between 1990 and 1995 for Indian music used in France but that no one knew whom to pay this money because most of the works of music were not registered. Eventually, the money was sunk into creating an organisation to promote budding French songwriters. Mr Forler also found that no-one had been collecting royalties for music played in Israel. There had been some 2,000 Indian songs on radio and films on television there in the last two years alone. Even the 36-year-old Indian Performing Rights Society…

Delhi hotels charged with violating music copyright
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels The Delhi High Court has restrained 14 hotels and pubs in Delhi from playing music for which Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) holds the copyright. PPL is the collection society formed by more than 100 audio firms including the global majors Universal, Warners, EMI Virgin and Sony BMG. The dispute revolves around whether or not special licences are needed from PPL. PPL issues two types of licences – the annual licence required for playing background music, and secondly the event licence which is needed for special events such as fashion shows, film awards, Christmas or New Year celebrations. The controversy is over how an ‘event’ is defined. The fee for a single event can sometimes be almost equal to the cost of an annual licence for the hotel and the hotels claim that many events where PPL are asking for special licences are nothing more than normal nights in a restaurant or room. The cost of event licences are based on factors such as the type of event, number of guests and duration: the Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Association contend that the annual fee includes the fee for the event also. The matter will be heard in…

Pepsi claim that new film’s title infringes their advertising slogan

COPYRIGHT/TRADE MARK Record Labels, Artists, Music Publishers Pepsi has brought an action in the Delhi High Court against the makers of the film ‘Dil Maange More’ alleging that the film title is an infringement of copyright, as it closely resembles Pepsi’s previous ad tagline, ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’. The film include a sequence by actor Actor Shahid Kapoor crooning ‘ Dil Maange More’ . The Delhi High Court has issued notices to the producer, director, music distributor and owner of the website promoting the film, `Dil Maange More’. Pepsi has alleged that the film title is an infringement of the copyright, as Pepsi had earlier used the phrase, ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ as the tagline for all its advertising. The film’s producer Nikhil Panchamiva has said that Pepsi are too late in serving the notice as the film has been released and the promos for the film have been on air since November 1. In its application, Pepsi also appealed for an order restraining the defendants from using the film title for overseas audio and video distribution. However, the film has been released overseas through Mumbai-based distributor Neptune and producers claim that the notice will have no impact on the…

Apple Fights Open Source Software in India
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / June 2004

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet In an intermittent war between the open-source community and the proprietary software industry, Apple Computers has slammed a legal notice on for hosting a software tool called Playfair., a Thiruvananthapuram based Indian portal dedicated to the open source software community, had hosted Playfair, a tool that enables free download of music files from Apple’s properitary online music store, iTunes. iTunes contains around 500,000 music files and offers users the facility to download music by paying 99 cents per song. The downloaded music can be played only on iPods, again a proprietary Apple hardware that permits the playback of such music. However, PlayFair, written by a US programmer, enables a user to play the songs from Apple’s iTunes on any operating system. Playfair was first hosted by a US-based website called Sour-ceForge but Apple invoked the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyrights Act) against PlayFair and asked SourceForge to remove the tool from its site. The tool was almost immediately relocated to On April 19, 2004, received a legal notice from the Indian attorneys of Apple, citing provisions of the (Indian) Copyright Act and the (Indian) Information Technology Act by which they attempted to demonstrate…

PPL Successful in Action Against Show Organiser in India

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Television, Radio, Live Event Industry The organisers of the Mega Model Man Hunt, Gladrags Media Limited, have been ordered by the the Bombay High to pay Rs 46,000 to Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) as copyright fees. PPL approached the court when Gladrags refused to pay copyright fees for its event in April 2004 at the Mahalakshmi Race Course. PPL is the Indian society that collects copyright fees on behalf of the music companies including BMG Cresendo, Magnasound, Virgin Records, Venus, Saregama and others. The 1957 Copyright Act in India specifies that any public performance of Indian or international music has to obtain a public performance licence, or will invite criminal action. In India, PPL is the sole authority to administer the broadcasting, telecasting and public performance rights on behalf of the music industry. Advocate Rohini Vakil for PPL, said, “Despite sending out notices requesting them to pay up, they ignored it. Last year, too, they had gone ahead and held performances with taped music without paying copyright fees” Vakil explained that PPL has varying tariffs depending on category, and Gladrags had been asked to pay up under the hotel category for playing pre-recorded music at performances. See : For…

India’s State Broadcaster To Take Action As Cricket Footage Is Illegally Broadcast On Rival Channels
Copyright / December 2003

COPYRIGHT Film, Television Indian state broadcaster, Prasar Bharti, is planning to take legal action against a number of privately owned news and sports channels which are re-transmitting cricket footage which is owned and licenced to Prasar Bharti’s national Doordarshan channel. Under Indian national custom and practice, other channels can air up to 30 seconds from rival broadcaster’s footage for news and review purposes provided that dues acknowledgement is given to the copyright owner. Using more than 30 seconds is a copyright infringement. See:

Copyright , Record Labels / October 2003

COPYRIGHT & PASSING OFF Record Labels A Delhi court has restrained Sony Music Entertainment from marketing its album titled DJ Heart Remix, containing popular Hindi songs, in response to an action brought by claimant Super Cassettes Industries. Super Cassettes claimed that the title, artwork and content of the product produced by Sony were deceptively similar to their Copyrighted albumDJ Hot Remix. Holding that there was phonetic, visual and structural similarity between the title DJ Hot Remix and DJ Heart Remix, Additional Sessions Judge RPS Teji, in an ex-parte interim order, restrained Sony Music from carrying any business to do with or advertising for the Heart Remix album. The court also injuncted Sony from using the artistic work of the inlay card of the album which was allegedly identical to that of Super Cassettes’ DJ Hot Remix. Besides alleging that there was phonetic, visual and structural similarity in the title of the album, Super Cassettes accused Sony of depicting on the inlay card six common songs in a similar style as well as printing the sequence of three songs in an identical manner. Super Cassettes had submitted that the adoption of deceptively similar titles and features by the rival to promote its product was causing…

Copyright / June 2003

COPYRIGHT Television, Radio The author Barbara Taylor Bradford has won an injuction in the Indian Supreme Court to prevent transmission of a 260-episode Bollywood serial ‘inspired’ by her best selling novel A Woman Of Substance. The novel tells of the heroine’s rise from an impoverished servant to become head of a business empire and the Bollywood serial Karishma – the Miracles Of Destiny charts a similar story. Both stories begin with the heroine recounting her adventures in old age. Taylor Bradford won an injunction at first instance in the Calcutta High Court, although this was overturned on appeal. However on the 12th May the injunction was confirmed in the Supreme Court – although broadcaster Saraha TV broadcast the first episode risking an action for contempt of court. (source: The Times, May 14th 2003). COMMENT : This case could have interesting ramifications in the debate on the protection of format rights. UK copyright law does not protect ideas, only the expression of ideas. It is sometimes very difficult to draw the line between what is an idea and what is the expression of an idea. In the English case of Rees -v- Melville (1911), it was held that the plot or storyline to a play could be protected but…