Last week was a lively one at SpicyIP with us covering a range of issues such as secondary electronic evidence, jurisdiction in e-commerce disputes and the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the National Tax Tribunal. We also had a lot of Bollywood news- such as John Doe order for the film Happy New Year, a personality rights suit by Boney Kapoor, and more! Read on.
The SpicyIP Story of the Week: Swaraj brought us a post on the US Trade Representative’s decision to conduct an ‘Out of Cycle Review’ (OCR) to unilaterally grade India’s IPR Regime. Swaraj noted with concern that not only is the entire process a degrading political pressure mechanism with no credibility, it also perhaps reveals the direction that the India-US Joint IP working group set up under the new government will take. However, a couple of days later, Swaraj followed it up with an update that the Government of India has told the American authorities that they will not be cooperating with the unilateral process that goes into the OCR Report as they have no obligation to do so. Further, the Government also stated that the new comprehensive IPR Policy of India will settle the matter forever! This is a welcome sign that the IPR Policy will not be bowing down to US pressure.
Anubha then posted on the new tools launched by the Controller General of Patents and Trademarks. In a big step towards transparency (perhaps the first in the world to achieve such high levels of it), the office has introduced innovative tools such as “Stock and Flow” for patents and dynamic utility facility for trademarks.
Shamnad then posted excerpts from his op-ed in the Financial Express on the Supreme Court invalidation of the National Tax Tribunal. He argues that under the logic of the NTT decision, a number of other tribunals including the IPAB must be axed as well.
We then had a Guest Post by Aradhya Sethia, a student at NLSIU, Bangalore on the recent Supreme Court decision Anvar PV v. PV Basheer, which deals with secondary electronic evidence. He makes two major observations- The first is that the Court over-ruled the Parliament attack case and held that S.65B of the IT Act is a self-contained code for computer output. The implication of this is that a lot of potential evidence will be rendered inadmissible as S.65B contains several conditions for evidence to be admissible. The second observation he makes it Paragraph 24 of the judgment, which makes a distinction between CDs directly used for announcements (calling it primary evidence) and CDs which were made once the announcements were fed into the computer (calling it secondary evidence). Aradhya points out that this contradicts the text of S.65B of the IT Act.
Devika posted on the Freedom Trust, an initiative started by Mr. Hartosh Singh Bal (political editor at the Caravan) which aims to intervene legally in case of censorship by the State and other organisations.
Thomas then posted on the recent CCI Decision on T-Series’ Minimum Commitment Charges, where it was held that such charges were unfair and discriminatory. He focuses on the issues of jurisdiction of the commission, determination of relevant market and the evaluation of IP.
This was followed by Devika’s post on the Delhi High Court’s decision which has held that jurisdiction in e-commerce cases involving trademark and copyright disputes would be determined by the buyer’s place of residence.
Devika then posted that Red Chillies Entertainment has obtained a John Doe order from the Bombay High Court regarding the release of the film Happy New Year, based on the apprehension that pirated copies of the film may be circulated in the market.
Devika also brought us a post for the SpicyIP Blast from the Past series, where she highlights the copyright aspects of the 1957 film Pyaasa.
1) Devika’s post titled ‘First Rajnikanth, Now Sridevi’ was on Boney Kapoor has served a legal notice on Ram Gopal Verma over the soon-to-be-released Telugu Film Sridevi. The poster of the film shows a woman baring her midriff and a young boy looking on lecherously. Boney Kapoor (Actress Sridevi’s husband) took issue with the fact that the title appears to allude to RGV’s childhood crush on Sridevi! Spicy indeed! An anonymous commenter has left the comment, “Finally, we have an article which justifies the title of the website!” [We disagree. We think everything on our blog is hot and spicy :)]
2) Devika also brought us the update that the Harvard Blue Book is now in the public domain.
3) International Open Access Week is from 20th-26th October. It is organized by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) every year. The theme for the Open Access Week this year is ‘Generation Open’, highlighting the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for Open Access policy.
1) The High Court of England and Wales has ordered 5 ISPs to block access to six websites accused of selling counterfeit goods. This is a first in ISP liability jurisprudence where they have been asked to block access for trademark infringement- in the past, Courts have allowed this route only for copyright infringement.
2) The Finnish Parliament has recommended that Finland’s crowdsourced “Common Sense for Copyright” Bill be rejected as it deviated too far from the present copyright law- it asked for reduced penalties for infringement, broader exceptions for fair use, parody, etc. While the rejection is disappointing (and highlights the gulf between the copyright regime and what people think is ‘fair’), it is always heartening to see democratic engagement in copyright policy.