1. A group of three men responsible for running illegal sports streaming sites have been ordered to pay €7 million in damages by a French Court

A group of three men responsible for running illegal sports streaming sites have been ordered to pay €7 million ($8.3 million) in damages to Canal+, beIN Sports and RMC Sport by the Rennes Criminal Court. The group owned a collection of around 20 illegal streaming sites, which rehosted unlicensed streams of sports content from the subscription sites. The re-streams would feature advertisements paid for by nearly 50 different agencies, generating nearly €230,000 in revenue for the site owners, according to Le Monde. The nine busiest websites managed to attract more than 7.5 million unique visitors from 2014 to 2017. The Association Against Audiovisual Piracy (ALPA), Canal+, beIN Sports and RMC Sport filed a joint complaint against the websites, leading to five men, including the owners and administrators of the websites,to be apprehended in June 2018, according to TorrentFreak. Plaintiffs petitioned for a sentence of up to ten years in prison. In June 2020, the group was found guilty and the group leader sentenced to a 12-month prison sentence. The hearing in January 2021 saw the group ordered to pay €7 million in damages, far lower than €91 million in damages claimed by the channels.

2. India escalates bid to gain GIs for Basmati

India has filed applications for the registration of Basmati rice as a geographical indication (GI) in 19 jurisdictions amid criticism from Pakistan and Nepal, with protection already granted in the UK. India’s minister of state for commerce and industry Hardeep Singh Puri announced the development to India’s parliament in a letter on Wednesday, March 10, according to a report in the Times of India. Hardeep confirmed that the GI mark for ‘Basmati’ and its logo have been registered in four countries, including the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Kenya. The GI sign is used for products with a specific geographical origin that have qualities based on natural factors within their place of origin. In September, India filed an application for the GI tag in the European Union’s (EU) Official Journal, so it could claim exclusive ownership over the product in the EU. The application stated: “‘Basmati’ is a special long grain aromatic rice grown and produced in a particular geographical region of the Indian sub-continent. In India, this region is a part of northern India, below the foothills of the Himalayas forming part of the Indo-Gangetic Plains.”

3. Decathlon India files trademark infringement suit against NCR-based Pentathlon Sports

Decathlon Sports India recently filed a trademark infringement suit against the Delhi based Pentathlon Sports stating that the action is to stop the latter from illegal and mala fide acts of inter alia of infringement of the registered trademark of Decathlon, as well as selling substandard products in the market and passing them off as goods/ products of Decathlon. The suit further alleges Pentathlon of copying their trademarked tagline, Sports for All / All for Sports. Vijay Kumar Rana, the founder and owner of Pentathlon Sports India however rejected all the points raised in the suit and claimed that there is sufficient differentiation in the trademark as well as the tagline. Rana further stated that he is not ready to compromise over the brand name and that Pentathlon is under the registration process with the registrar of trademark. The matter will come up for hearing on March 22 at District Court, Ghaziabad.

4. US jury tells Apple to pay $308.5 million for patent infringement

A federal jury in Texas, in the case of Personalized Media vs. Apple, held Apple responsible for infringement of a patent associated with digital rights management and directed the company to pay $308.5 million along with a running royalty to Personalized Media Communications LLC (PMC). The latter, who is a licensing firm had originally sued Apple in 2015 alleging that their iTunes service infringed 7 of its patents. Apple however had successfully challenged PMC’s case at the US patent office, which was later on reversed by an Appeals Court in the month of March, paving way for the trial at hand. “Cases like this, brought by companies that don’t make or sell any products, stifle innovation and ultimately harm the consumers” stated Apple on the matter.

5. Mumbai Composer Embroiled in Copyright Dispute over Singapore’s National Song

Mumbai-based composer Joseph Mendoza has been accused of copying one of Singapore’s most iconic National Day songs, “Count On Me Singapore”.”Count on Me Singapore” was composed by Canadian Hugh Harrison, arranged by Jeremy Monteiro and performed by Clement Chow, both Singaporeans, in 1986. The Straits Times reported on Thursday that Mendonza has claimed that he wrote his version “We Can Achieve”, in 1983. He also said that he only found out about “Count On Me Singapore” a few days ago. The two songs are virtually identical, except for small changes to the lyrics where “Singapore” was changed to “India” or “Mother India”, according to the Singapore daily report. In a statement to the media on Tuesday, Mendoza claimed that 250 orphans had performed the song in 1983 after he had written it while teaching music at the Bal Bhavan orphanage in Mumbai, where he is based. He also claimed that the original tapes of his composition were swept away in the 2005 Mumbai floods. “The only living proof I can offer you are the 250 orphans who first learnt it in 1983 and all the orphans at Bal Bhavan in the successive years too,” said the 58-year-old, who claimed he was a graduate of the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California.

6. YouTube Studio Gets New ‘Checks’ Feature, Flags Copyright Issues Before Publishing

YouTube is incorporating a new feature in YouTube Studio for desktop that checks for copyright infringement whenever a user uploads a video on the video sharing platform. To make money off one’s YouTube videos, one must strictly follow copyright laws. The video sharing platform, along with copyright owners, actively checks for any violation of the laws that can lead the video being pulled down or even the channel being banned. YouTube will now check for copyright infringements before the video is being uploaded to avoid any such instance once the content is uploaded. YouTube Studio has also been spotted with another new feature – a real-time subscriber count. While this system may probably not fix the whole issue of copyright infringement, it is definitely a step forward in reducing the number of issues. However, even if the system green lights the content for copyright infringement, copyright owners can still flag the content after it is uploaded, thus probably not affecting copyright trolling in the future. But it will help creators remove any copyrighted data from their content to reduce the risk of getting banned or being demonetised.

7. Registration Of Copyright Not Mandatory For Seeking Protection Under Copyright Act: Bombay High Court

It was held by the Bombay High Court that to seek an injunction against infringement, the registration of a Copyright is not mandatory. It was observed that “Copyright gives a range of rights and privileges to the first owner of copyright without requiring prior registration.”, according to a single Bench of Justice GS Patel. The Justice gave emphasis to Section 51 of the Copyright Act. This section talks about the infringement of copyright and that copyright does not restrict itself to works that have been registered with the registrar of copyright

8. Twitch makes it easier for streamers to wipe out their old videos to avoid copyright strikes

In an email to the streamers, twitch has announced that they have added special tools to assist creators to assess where they stand with takedown requests and copyright strikes. They also added tools that allowed streamers to mass delete their recorded streams. It is an intelligent move because it helps streamers remain on the good side of copyright law. If they do not, and they get enough copyright strikes, they will get permabanned. The email makes it clear as to why the site didn’t have this particular function early on. They are a direct consequence of the flurry of DMCA takedowns received by the streamers last year.

Image Sources:

  1. Wangbar on Shutterstock
  2. StockImageFactory.com on Shutterstock
  3. Decathlon-internet on Wikimedia.
  4. theroyakash on Unsplash.
  5. Various on Wikimedia
  6. YouTube on Wikimedia
  7. Rangan Datta Wiki on Wikimedia.
  8. Twitch Interactive  on  Wikimedia.