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1. IPAB to Fix Statutory Licensing Rate for Radio Royalties after 10 Years

The IPAB has passed an interim order maintaining status quo of the royalty rate for radio broadcasts under statutory licensing. According to paragraph 14 of the Interim order, a number of music labels had sought to commence negotiations for voluntary licensing schemes from 1st October onwards. The extension was thus needed in order to prevent the immediate cessation of their services upon expiration. The respondents had initially opposed the application on grounds that the applicant is already paying higher royalties to some music labels which do not come under the CB order. Meanwhile, a Public Notice has been issued by IPAB on 18th September inviting owners of copyright, broadcasting organizations, radio broadcasters and other interested persons to give their suggestions in writing, with adequate evidence as to the rate of royalties to be fixed. Suggestions have to be sent within 30 days, i.e., latest by 18th October 2020.

2. Tillis and Blackburn Introduce Anti-Hacking Bill Aimed at Protecting COVID-19 Vaccine Research

The “Defend COVID Research from Hackers Act” was introduced earlier this month by Senators Thom Tillis and Marsha Blackburn to authorize the President to take action against countries who try to disrupt and/or hack the COVID-19 research. The Act was introduced in the senate following the COVID-19 research-related hacking attempts in the recent months made by countries like China,Iran and Russia. In a press release, it was announced by Tillis and Blackburn that the efforts made to steal the U.S. intellectual property that is key to the pandemic recovery represent a threat to national security. “It is essential that we take active steps to protect our public health from these bad actors” added Marsha Blackburn.

3. World Intellectual Property Organization: WIPO Launches Free Database of Judicial Decisions on IP Law 

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced the launching of WIPO Lex-Judgments, a free database that provides access to judicial decisions on IP law from around the world. According to WIPO, the database provides access to decisions selected by the courts or other national authorities of each member state due to their precedential value or significant impact. It captures searchable details of judgments indexed therein, including subject matter, issuing authority, relevant legislation, and the full text of the judgment in its original language. In addition, each member state’s section provides an overview of its adjudication frameworks for Intellectual Property (IP) disputes, a summary of relevant features of its administrative and judicial procedures, and links to national online databases of rulings.

4. EUIPO and EIT: Innovation and Intellectual Property hand in hand

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), recently signed an agreement that brings together innovation and intellectual property for the benefit of European small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).The EIT, which is an independent body created in 2008 by the European Union promotes entrepreneurship and drives innovation across Europe by integrating business, education and research. They also support early and subsequent growing stages of newly created companies, and work on the protection of innovation and creativity through Intellectual Property (IP). Both the organisations being complementary to each other through their supporting role in helping SMEs and entrepreneurs would pave the way to a better European economy on the whole. 

5. SaReGaMa Raise a Copyright Violation Claims against DD National, Later Calls it a Glitch

Subsequent to the 74Th Independence Day celebrations, SaReGaMa raised a copyright claim against the vintage broadcaster, Doordarshan National (DD National). In order to keep the audience engaged, the broadcaster aired a video of defence officials singing to the tunes of “Sare Jahan Se Acha” and uploaded the same on various social media platforms. SaReGaMa raised a copyright strike for uploading a video wherein the Tri – Band was playing patriotic songs. The CEO of DD National, Mr. Shashi S. Vempati said, “Disappointed to see that live musical band performances by the Armed Forces produced by Doordarshan have been copyright claimed by commercial musical entities on the @/ddnational YouTube channel. It is not just ethically and morally wrong but it raises serious questions on the basis for these copyright claims – as an example what is the basis for SaReGaMa to claim copyright on “Saare Jahan Se Accha” performance by the Tri-services band?” SaReGaMa replied by stating that it was all a glitch. They wrote, “As a part of the system driven automatic copyright claims activity, this unintentional incident happened. We removed the claim immediately. Kindly accept our sincere apologies.”

6. Owners of the Grumpy Cat trademark move the U.S. Federal Court

The ill-tempered feline, known as Grumpy Cat, is not just an internet star but also a legitimate brand. The image of the cat has been granted registrations across multiple trademark classes. Subsequent to the first time the image of the cat was posted on Reddit, there have been infringements on the trademarks. On October 8th, an 18 page complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division by the owners of Grumpy Cat Limited claiming that their intellectual property rights over the Grumpy Cat are being infringed upon. The grounds on which the suit was filed are that the defendants are passing off counterfeit material by using illegal search engine manipulation by going to great lengths to conceal their identity and other tactics meant to disguise wrongdoings. The filing seeks relief in the form of injunctions, lost profits and attorneys’ fees. What will transpire during the proceedings remain to be seen.

7. TRP scam accused booked for cheating, copyright violation

The owner of Box Cinema Channel who was arrested in the Television Rating Points manipulation case, was booked by the police in another case of cheating, impersonation and violation of copyright law. According to the FIR registered based on a complaint lodged by Punit Mehra from the Prakash Mehra Film Production Company against Narayan Sharma, one of the accused allegedly got a magazine advertisement published which falsely claimed that Sharma’s company had ownership rights over six Hindi movies from the Prakash Mehra Film Production company. It was alleged by the complainant that Sharma broadcasted the firm’s movies without the necessary documents. 

8. Delhi High Court restrains violation of Mattel’s copyright in Rainforest Family; asks Flipkart to remove infringing listings

The grievance of the Plaintiffs was that the Defendants were infringing its copyright in ‘Rainforest Family’ and also passing off the goods under the trademark and shape mark of ‘KICK AND PLAY’.The Delhi High Court has asked Flipkart to remove listings relating to the advertisement and sale of the products in violation of Mattel’s copyright in the six characters of the ‘Rainforest Family’. (Mattel vs Present Enterprises & Ors). It also restrained the violation of the copyright in the six characters of the ‘Rainforest Family’ till the next date of hearing. However, with respect to the trademark violation of its word mark ‘KICK AND PLAY’ as also the design mark, the Court decided to first hear the defendants before passing any ad-interim injunction.

Image Sources:

  1. Anthony Roberts on Unsplash
  2. Scott Graham on Unsplash
  3. Tobias Fischer on Unsplash
  4. Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash
  5. Naveed Ahmed on Unsplash
  6. Gage Skidmore on Wikimedia
  7. Jeremy Yap on Unsplash
  8. Shirota Yuri on Unsplash