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News Updates: September 2023

  • Actor Anil Kapoor Granted Injunction In His Favour To Protect His Personality Rights

In a jhakaas! (slang for superb) move, Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor filed a suit in the Delhi High Court to seek protection and prevent misuse of various attributes of his personality, such as his name, voice, image/likeness and gestures. Through the suit, he broadly attempted to protect and exercise his personality and publicity rights, copyright in his dialogue and images in associated works, and the right to restrain passing off, dilution and tarnishment of his reputation. Alleging that the Defendants are engaging in unauthorised use of his name, voice and images, the actor sought an ex-parte injunction. Justice Pratibha Singh passed an order restraining websites from unauthorisedly using the actor’s personality and misusing it through artificial intelligence, deep fakes, face morphing and GIFs for commercial purposes.

  • France Mulls Over Introducing Law To Govern AI-Generated Works Through Copyright

French lawmakers have proposed taking a step towards controlling the exploitation of AI-generated works and ensuring fair remuneration to the rightsholders who made it possible to design said artificial work. Consisting of four Articles, the proposed law amends the current French Intellectual Property Code with the objective of “encouraging AI systems to respect copyright and encourage creation”. Interestingly, the proposal also calls for including the phrase "work generated by AI" along with the names of the authors who contributed to creating the AI-generated work to acknowledge their efforts.

  • Humans Of Bombay Files Suit Against People Of India, Alleges Copyright Infringement

Popular storytelling platform ‘Humans of Bombay’, has taken legal action against People of India, another similar platform, alleging that they have copied their content, literary works, materials, films and creative expressions, and are an “identical portal having identical content”. Humans Of Bombay also claims that People Of India has not only replicated the stories but also their business model. The dispute caught the attention of the international audience as well, including that of Humans Of New York founder, Brandon Stanton. The Delhi High Court has given notice to the Defendant and will hear the matter on 11th October 2023.

  • Adobe To Pay $33.8 Million As Costs In Patent Infringement Suit

The U.S. District Court for the State of Delaware found Adobe guilty of infringing a patent covering a system that controls access to digital content. ViaTech Technologies brought action against Adobe in the U.S District Court for the State of Massachusetts, alleging that Adobe’s Software Activation Technologies and Flash Access technology focused on curbing unlicensed use of Adobe software and protecting content infringes upon ViaTech’s patented method of “controlling the use of files containing digital content, including system and license control mechanisms.”. The suit was transferred to Delaware in 2020, as both parties are incorporated there. The jury sided with ViaTech and ruled that Adobe was guilty of patent infringement, ordering them to pay $33.8 million in damages.

  • Burger King Trademark Row – Fast Food Chain Brings Successful Action Against Fraudulent Franchises And Websites

To protect its trademark 'BURGER KING,' including the Crescent Logo Design and the Hamburger Refresh Design Logo, Burger King Corporation filed an action in the Delhi High Court against entities offering fake franchises and misusing the global fast food chain’s intellectual property. Burger King claimed that these parties have been creating fake and illegal domain names using its name, duping innocent people of large sums of money. Justice Pratibha Singh voiced her concern on the issue and urged taking stringent action. An interim injunction was granted against the infringing websites and restrained them from using Burger King’s trademark and logo in domain names and email addresses. Further, the Court also directed the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) not to permit any domain name/website to be opened under the '' or '.in' extensions consisting of the mark `Burgerking', and asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to issue blocking orders with immediate effect.

  • Delhi High Court Restrains YouTube Channels And Social Media Handles From Using Marks Identical To Registered Trademark ‘Aaj Tak’

Living Media India Limited, the registered proprietor of the family of trademarks pertaining to ‘Aaj Tak’ has successfully obtained a permanent injunction in its favour against various YouTube channels and social media accounts that were using similar marks. The Defendants had adopted variations of the registered trademark ‘Aaj Tak’ as their respective marks, such as ‘Aabtak News Channel’, ‘Rajasthan Tak’, and ‘Aap Tak’, to name a few. Although they tried to justify their marks by arguing that Living Media cannot claim exclusivity over the suffix ‘Tak’ as no separate registration was obtained for it, this argument was rejected by the Delhi High Court which found that both parties have been using the said suffix while engaging in analogous or identical services. It further ruled that the suffix ‘Tak’ is a source identifier for Living Media, and is, therefore, a dominant part of their trademarks. The Defendants have been instructed to take down websites and social media handles displaying ‘Aaj Tak’.

  • U.S Copyright Office Rejects Application To Register AI-Generated Artwork; Emphasises That “Human Authorship Is A Bedrock Requirement Of Copyright”

In September 2022, MrMrason Allen applied for copyright registration for his two-dimensional artwork ‘Théâtre D'opéra Spatial’, created with the AI system ‘Midjourney’. Although he did not initially reveal in his application the contribution of the AI system, Allen later explained the creation process. He claimed that based on his creative inputs which involved numerous revisions and prompts at least 624 times, Midjourney came up with an initial version of the artwork which he later modified using Photoshop and other tools. Despite being requested to exclude those features of the artwork contributed by Midjourney which also led to the application being refused, Allen maintained that his creative inputs and the fair use doctrine would allow his work to be registered. However, the Review Board of the U.S. Copyright Office did not agree to his contentions and upheld the rejection. It found that the artwork contained “more than a de minimis amount of content generated by AI” and thus reinforced the notion of human authorship requirement in copyright law.

  • Delhi High Court Rules In Favour Of Course Materials Provider In Copyright Dispute

Jainemo Private Limited, a company involved in preparing and disseminating educational courses through its website, sought redress by the Delhi High Court against entities distributing their content on platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram and YouTube. It claimed that the materials included in the study materials contained original copyrighted content, which was being distributed without consent through alternate channels even after the original infringing channel was taken down. Justice Pratibha Singh affirmed that Jainemo’s course materials fall under the category of ‘literary works’, and the videos included in them qualify as ‘cinematographic films’, and are thereby accorded copyright protection. Recognising that Jainemo would suffer serious monetary losses if the entities were not restrained from unlawfully distributing the educational materials, she issued an order to prevent them from downloading, uploading, storing, sharing or using any of the copyrighted materials. In addition, she asked Telegram, YouTube and WhatsApp to take action against the infringers by blocking or suspending their channels.

  • Sued For Infringement Over Content Generated By Copilot? Microsoft Willing To Assume Responsibility

Tech giant Microsoft, the creator of the AI assistant Copilot, recently issued a statement over growing concerns related to intellectual property infringement resulting from using content developed by AI tools. Called the ‘Copilot Copyright Commitment’, Microsoft asserts that in the event a user is sued for copyright infringement for using output created by Copilot, Microsoft is willing to defend them and pay the legal damages. It goes on to claim that Copilot has been built using filters and various technologies which will essentially reduce the chances of the AI assistant generating infringing content. At the same time, it cautions users not to intentionally misuse the tool to generate harmful content and emphasises that they must not provide input that they do not have appropriate rights to use.

  • “There Can Be No Copyright In Religious Scriptures, But Adaptations Are Entitled To Copyright Protection”, Rules Court

The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, a trust established by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, holds the copyright for all the works and teachings authored by Swami Prabhupada during his lifetime. These works aim to simplify the knowledge contained in religious books and scriptures and are available in print as well as electronic forms. Distressed by websites, social media accounts and mobile applications unlawfully distributing the said copyrighted content, the trust approached the Delhi High Court for relief. The bench observed that despite the Bhagavad Geeta and the scriptures written about by Swami Prabhupada being part of the public domain, any adaptations of the said scriptures are eligible for copyright protection. These adaptations, be it providing summaries of the original content or audio-visual works, constitute transformative works and original works of the authors themselves and are therefore protected by copyright. The Defendants have been restrained from printing, reproducing, communicating or distributing the copyrighted works and have been directed to take down the infringing mobile applications and websites.

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