The Indian Media and Entertainment Industry witnessed steady growth and is projected to grow by around 100 billion by the year 2030 despite the Covid-19 Pandemic which had a critical impact on the country’s economy. The Media and Entertainment Industry (M&E) is advancing at a rapid pace which has brought innovations in technological trends. The said sector has not only been witnessing a scaling growth but has also been facing several legal issues and this is exactly where the role of Intellectual Property comes into play. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are the intangible right that protects the innovation or the content of the owner. The IPR can be broadly classified into, Copyrights, Trademark, Patents, Designs but it is the Copyright and Trademark which are the cornerstone of the said industry. With the rise in the M&E industry, there has been a rise in legal issues wherein the IP has been violated especially in terms of cases of Infringement and unlawful utilization of the content. Hence, the IP does influence the M&E sector.
Two of the utmost important statutes that play a decisive role in protecting the Media and Entertainment Industry are the Indian Copyright Act of 1957 and the Indian Trademark Act of 1999. Although there have been challenges considering the progress made by the said industry and the future aspects of the same, one thing which has always provided assurance and hope is Intellectual Property which has proven to be an asset that still needs further amends to maximize the security to the owner over their content.
About Copyright Law
A copyright is an Exclusive right that the owner possesses over the content or work that establishes authority in doing certain acts in a work. The main objective of the Copyright is mainly to Protect Artistic works, Literary works, Musical works, and Dramatic works from being misused for commercial purposes in an authorized manner where the owner is not given the credit for his creation. Talking about the need for registering the copyright in India, it is not mandatory to register copyright but what makes a difference in registering the copyright is the claim which can be rightfully made by the owner. Thus, registering the copyright will give the owner an upper hand in claiming relief instantly.
Influence of Copyright on the M&E Industry
As discussed above that a copyright gives an exclusive right to the owner over his content. Two of the most common ways through which an offender could infringe the rights of the owner are through copyright infringement and copyright piracy. The basic difference between the two is that in terms of copyright infringement, there is unauthorized access made by the wrongdoer and in terms of Copyright Piracy, there is a theft involved or duplication of the content of the owner which is accessed in an unauthorized manner without the consent of the owners.
Influence of Copyright on the Film Industry
Intellectual Property is considered one of the most valuable assets in the Film Industry. Intellectual Property provides security to the Industry through Copyrights, Trademark, Patents, and the right of publicity for distribution deals. Copyright Protection is an important IP right in n this industry and a very interesting fact that the IP rights are not only just guaranteed to protect the film but too many others like the creators and performers, actors, screenwriters, directors, and behind-the-scenes artists and technicians. Copyrights play a very crucial role at every stage of the Film making the journey along with the Contracts undertaken and together they form the IP’s “Chain of Title Documentation”.
1- In R.G. Anand v. M/s. Deluxe Films, The Court rejected the Appellant’s claim and decided the issues in the favour of the Respondents wherein, it was held that there is no infringement and stated that there is a possibility of similarities in an idea but the same cannot be copyrighted
2- Yash Raj Films Pvt Ltd. v. Sri Sai Ganesh Productions, the court stated that cinematograph film is greater than a conglomeration of its underlying works such as Drama or literary works and that making a copy of cinematograph film includes the intention of copying the idea of the film. The Court held that this matter is a case of copyright infringement and passed an injunction against the Defendants and restrained them from infringing the copyrights any further.
Trademarks are signs, any kind of symbols or designs that help in differentiating between the goods of one person from another. The owner enjoys exclusive ownership along with the right to trade
Influence of Trademarks on the M&E Industry
Trademark is said to be an IP that has the potential to bring in lots of profits and avenues to the owners’ businesses. One such example is that of the Movie studios which make use of trademarks that helps them to surpass their competition and make them stand out amongst the other competitors. Trademark is considered an important aspect of the above-mentioned industry including Films and Music which can be incorporated in certain respects.
Influence of Trademarks in the Film and Music Industry
The Trademark Act of 1999 guarantees protection to Movie titles, certain Famous characters, songs, music albums, etc. One such example is that of Disney and Pixar which has got their logos. Movie titles can also be protected as a Trademark that not only helps in protecting their IP but also enables them to enter into licensing and merchandising agreements. One of the very famous songs, “Kolaveri Di” the title of this song became the first song title to have received trademark protection which became a super-hit across all the media platforms.
- In the Sholay Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd. V. Parag M. Sanghavi, Movie titled, “Sholay” was a very popular movie known all over that was released in the year 1975. In the year 2007, Ram Gopal Varma produced a movie titled “Ram Gopal Verma Ke Sholay” and was sued on the grounds of Trademark infringement which was later changed to “Ram Gopal Varma Ke Aag”
- M. Entertainment Pvt. Ltd v. Baby Gift House & Ors, this is a case which is about infringement of trademark and passing in which the Court upon analyzing the issues, concluded wherein the case was decided in the favour of the Plaintiff and was awarded a permanent injunction that restrained the Defendants from producing or selling the toys.
In today’s world, the pace at which technology is evolving and the rapid growth made by technology has given birth to some amazing creations but the same has come along with several unforeseen issues which have seriously impacted the M&E industry in end number of ways. Previously, there was television cable but today especially during the pandemic period we have seen a rise and demand for OTT giants. Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, and Amazon Prime are some well-known examples. Such platforms offer a variety of content that can be accessed by the viewers by subscribing in the sense of paying the subscription fee to have a safe and enjoyable experience. The issues faced by such OTT platforms is regarding unauthorized access, unlawful distribution of the content which has been a loophole and caused losses to the original content and Hence, there is a need to understand that there goes in a lot of effort of creators in making such content and making it available to the audience and this is where the IP steps in to protect and secure the Industry which will ultimately be protecting the uniqueness of such creation and help in scaling the growth of the industry.
Author(s) Name: Raj N. Pankar (V.M.Salgaocar College of Law)