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Announcing the Winners of the 1st Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on IP Law!


Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer

On May 14, 2020, on the occasion of Shamnad‘s 44th birth anniversary we had announced the first edition of the Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law. We opened the topic selection out to participants – asking them to choose any topic they wanted so long as it related to IP. And encouraged participants to draw inspiration from Shamnad’s scholarship. Despite being announced in the middle of a pandemic, the response to the essay competition has been overwhelming – we received a total of 89 entries from law students across India on an impressive range of topics. We shortlisted the top 6 essays for our panel of esteemed judges, consisting of Justice Prabha Sridevan, Ms. Jayashree Watal and Professor Siva Thambisetty (please click here for their bios). Thanks to a speedy turnaround by the judges, we are very happy to announce the top 3 winning entries, along with the thoughtful comments from the judges on each of the three essays.

And the winners are:

1. The first prize goes to Lokesh Vyas, a fifth year law student at the Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad for his essay on ‘Director’s authorship under Indian Copyright Law: An (Un) Indian Approach?’

This essay discusses cinematic authorship and highlights the flaws of granting authorship solely to the producer in the Indian Copyright Act, to the exclusion of the director. The essay pits the demands of financing against the demands of incentivising the ‘art of filmmaking’ in arguing for the director’s authorship, making a strong case for correcting a legislative infelicity that is a relic of the British Copyright Act, 1956. The essay is exceptionally well written, dealing directly with a legal question whose boundaries are clearly carved out of a number of complex issues while relying on a good range of philosophical and legal sources. It evidences assimilation of the literature and personal reflection – the result is an insightful and sophisticated voice, setting out a persuasive case for giving the directors authorship rights. Lokesh states his case with passion, arguing that while ‘cinematography is a work of various creative efforts, there is one creative force that coheres all the creative efforts and eventuates the final work’. This essay was a pleasure to read and is a deserving winner of the essay competition.

The essay can be accessed over here.

2. The second prize goes to Varsha Jhavar, a fourth year law student at the Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur for her essay on ‘Stand-up Comedy: Negative Space or Traditional IP Worthy’

This essay addresses the question of joke-theft and and lays out the case for a form of exclusivity in order to protect the legitimate interests of comedians and to extend an incentive that would be helpful for the preservation of the stand-up comedy industry. The author presents social media, and a social norms-based system as a form of enforcement to minimise joke-theft. The essay is well-written and uses interesting examples to make an engaging case for some form of protection for comedians. It is thought provoking and shows an element of original thinking on a problem of “no innovation without intellectual property rights” that exists in the shadow of the debate on conventional intellectual property rights.

The essay can be accessed over here.

3. The third prize goes to Purvi Nema, a fourth year law student at the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi for her essay on ‘Can Copyright Law Combat Deepfakes’?

The essay takes a very pertinent issue – the question of deepfakes – and landscapes the intellectual property issues such as authorship, ownership, fair use and intermediary liability. It focuses on the artificial intelligence used to author deep fakes and draws observations from the speed of technology and the challenge of intellectual property law keeping pace with such developments. The essay is well-written and the issues are engagingly laid out.

The essay can be accessed over here.

The SpicyIP team would like to give our hearty congratulations to these students for their prize winning essays! We would also like to thank all the participants for their enthusiastic participation in the competition. And last but not least, we are incredibly grateful to the judges for lending their time to judge the essay competition and helping ensure that the first edition of this competition was a rousing success!

5 comments.

  1. AvatarSS

    Congratulations to the winners!!
    On a separate note, it is interesting to note that all three winning essays are related to copyright, and none related to patents! I’m curious to know if there was any essay on patent related topic that made to the top 6? It would be great if you can give a categorization of all the essays into major IP fields – patents, copyright, TM, GI……..
    I’m not sure if you’re going to cover the other 3 shortlisted essays that didn’t make to the final list of three. I think it would be good if you carry another post on them. Additionally, it would be good to post all the essays if there are not restrictions?

    Reply
  2. SpicyIPSpicyIP Post author

    Thanks for these comments and apologies for not replying sooner.
    While we’ve notified the other 3 shortlisted finalists through email, we will not be posting their entries on the blog. We can say though that there was at least one patent related entry in the short list.

    Reply

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