|Image from here|
Continuing from Shamnad’s earlier post, we now have confirmation, that all three writ petitions challenging the constitutionality of the copyright amendments are listed for today, before Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice Kaur of the Delhi High Court. I think the petitions should be admitted without any difficulty.
The three petitions have been filed by Super Cassettes or T-Series, Venus Entertainment and Bharat Anand. The first two are represented by Advocate Neel Mason and I’m guessing Amit Sibal will be leading the arguments. The third is being represented by Advocate Jagdish Sagar, who was a bureaucrat involved in drafting the 1994 amendments to the Copyright Act.
We have some details about the challenge filed by T-Series. From what I understand, and this is subject to correction, the following provisions have been challenged by T-Series:
(i) Section 31(1)(b) along with the corresponding rules, which are Rules 6 to 10 under Chapter IV of the Copyright Rules, 2013.
(ii) Section 31(D) along with the corresponding rules, which are Rules 29 to 31 under Chapter VIII.
Both sets of provisions have been challenged as being in violation of Articles 14, 19(1)(g), 21 and 300A of the Constitution. While Section 31(1)(b) deals with compulsory licences for works being withheld from the public domain, Section 31(D) permits a statutory licensing regime for musical works that are being used by the broadcast industry. The crux of T-Series petition is that these provisions are unreasonable, in violation of its fundamental right to trade and carry out its business, along with the fact that these provisions suffer from the vice of excessive delegation since they provide the Copyright Board with too much unregulated discretionary power.
T-Series has also challenged Rule 3(2) of the Copyright Rules, 2013 on the grounds that it is in violation of the Supreme Court’s precedent in the NCLT case. We had predicted such a challenge earlier and the Copyright Office has nobody but itself to blame for this challenge. The challenge against the Copyright Board is quite significant because it is a strong case and without the Copyright Board, several of the amendments are rendered toothless.
I wish we could cover these challenges in more detail but we are running short on manpower and the only way I can find time to do this by myself is if I drop out of law school and that’s not happening, at least not for another couple of months.