Copyright: India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Additional information may please be sent as messages to the Facebook
community, All information used will be gratefully
acknowledged in your name.


Crafts copyrights

Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Sanganeri block prints

Shefalee Vasudev, August 22, 2021: The Times of India

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, among India’s foremost couturiers and a brilliant design mind, came under fire for interpreting Sanganeri block prints, a GI protected craft practised by Rajasthan’s Chhipa community, for his H&M collection Wanderlust. A section of learned crafts practitioners felt he was being insensitive to artisans and the heritage of the country of his imagination and business. “We are deeply pained by the missed opportunity that ‘Wanderlust’ has been for artisan livelihoods. The publicity material implies that the range is connected with Indian craft. However, it is not made by Indian artisans and with no visible benefit to them…” stated an open letter with about 200 signatories, including India’s most respected crafts leaders and representatives of advocacy groups.

Let’s divert for a moment to the concept of cross-wiring. While cross wiring is used in marshalling cabinets, creating beehive frames and is unavoidable in marriages or businesses, in psychology it is a particularly riveting concept. It causes synesthesia — a condition in which information meant to stimulate one sense stimulates multiple senses. Synesthetes “see” music when they hear it and can even assign it a colour. When they eat, they “taste” food textures as having shapes like square or round. Cross-wiring is also an incredible metaphor. Use it as a lens here. Sabyasachi x H&M x Undefined crafts copyrights in India x No legal guidelines on artisanal signatures or IPR of heritage crafts (after 75 years of Independence and an intimidating posse of crafts advocates from Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya onwards) x Routinely transgressed Geographical Indication (GI) norms without penalties x Where would Indian fashion be without Ajrakh, Patola, Bandhini, Jamdani, Kalamkari, Masulipatnam chintz, Banarasi, Sanganeri block printing, Ikat weaving, Chikankari, khadi etc?

So, if Sabyasachi’s collection for H&M has opened a can of worms, he could in fact take a congratulatory moment. India’s crafts sector needs this debate. Here is why.

1. It is high time that IPR issues find a mandate and clear consensus on ownership and move from proposals to policy. If the Ministry of Textiles could achieve just this one thing this year, it would strengthen the fabric of India. Because it is as much about a certain craft culture as it is about skills.

This implies legally defining plagiarism to differentiate between inspiration, copying, pattern replication, and degree of similarity to the original. It also needs to be spelt out if litigating parties must be legally registered businesses to seek legal recourse.

The “love to hate” Sabyasachi fest that has become an unfortunate recurrent spectator sport on social media by a mix of his fans and detractors indicates yet again the envy that the designer arouses. Also, let’s not forget that many fashion designers, small traders and boutique businesses copy his work! Everything from his visual campaigns to jewellery to lehnga-cholis has been replicated but not his success as a couturier and strategist with collaborations such as Christian Louboutin, Pottery Barn, Thomas Goode, Bergdorf Goodman. Whether you love Sabyasachi’s work or not, it is easy to see he has been at the receiving end of attacks while others get away with murder.

Instead of positioning this as a moral issue, which it is not, let us argue in favour of mindful altruism towards the crafts sector so that copyright, credit, and opportunity become the norm. Because truly it is hard to list well-known designers who used crafts in their work, some splendidly of course, but gave due credit to the artisan. Many continue to underpay craftspeople while making big brands out of traditional design vocabularies.

On the other hand, without intervention by some designers, from the yarn stage to dyeing, weaving or printing, packaging, marketing with experimentation, innovation and global-local ideas, Indian crafts would not be in “fashion”.

So instead of stone-pelting between the craft and fashion ecosystems, this provocation could lead to a transformative moment. If clear IPR guidelines are drafted, designers as well as craftspeople will be able to enter collaborative businesses without the mess.

On that note, it is crucial to underline that to support the efficacy of the GI tag, the Ministry of Culture with the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA) is setting up incubation cells to facilitate the development of GI crafts from food to perfumes and weaves. According to sources, IIM, NIFT and the Indian Institute of Crafts and Design have been invited to collaborate.

As a fashion and culture writer, I feel energised and enthused by this debate. Of course, the nine fashion magazines which put out orchestrated digital covers to promote the Sabyasachi x H&M collection, can well be judged by their covers.

Vasudev is the editor-in-chief of The Voice of Fashion


Digital music streaming

Section 31(D) is applicable

The Times of India, Sep 08 2016

Govt clarifies copyright act applies to digital streaming services 

In a decision that will help music streaming services, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has clarified that all forms of broadcasting -including digital music streaming -fall under section 31(D) of the Copyright Act of 2013.

Section 31(D) of the Act offers statutory licensing (SL) to broadcasting services, allowing them the right to offer music to their consumers at rates determined by the Copyright Board. This provision was brought into the Act to protect broadcasters from abusive practices of some music companies, who demanded unreasonable and unjustifiable royalties before granting permissions. Though the wording of the clause was quite clear in the Act, music companies had tried to create an impression that the section didn't apply to digital music services. With this clarification, DIPP has clarified that section applies to all broadcasters including digital music services.

Commerce and industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told that the process for setting up the Copyright Board is on. She did not elaborate on the timeframe. Setting up of the board has been pending for a few years, but the minister has initiated the process. Government's clarification will bring major relief to services such as Gaana and Saavn, and will encourage them to renew commitment to their struggling businesses. Dhingana, another service, which was acquired by global giant Pandora, was shut down after being unable to fund music royalties. Guvera, an Australian music streaming service operating in India, is also struggling to pay its creditors. In addition, FM radio broadcasters have been unable to develop presence on digital because of the high costs demanded by labels.When asked to comment, an ex pert from a global consultancy firm stated: “Music companies should actually be giving their music at a very low cost initially to encourage multiple music services, which would help not only in curbing piracy but also in increasing their revenues from multiple sources However music companies have been thinking short term and increasing rates prohibitively making legal music services unviable and leading many of them to close down“.

In digital streaming, most music services are losing money significantly . Their royalty payments have grown by over 500% in the last four years, with built-in minimum guarantees to the labels. Digital broadcasters' revenues, however, have grown modestly as the business is taking time to develop. Labels also restricted how their music was used, initially offering web but not mobile rights, limiting how consumers could consume content, and restricting what partnerships digital music services could use.

Commenting on the clarification, Prashan Agarwal, COO of Gaana, said, “The clarification that internet companies are covered under SL is welcome. However, there was never any doubt in our minds that we were covered. This clarification will help the streaming industry grow and catch up with its peers internationally“.

Industry body IAMAI also issued a statement: “The clarification will also provide a relief to the spiralling annual licence fee paid to label companies that sometimes exceeded the revenue of many these startups....this clarification by DIPP now creates a level-playing field as the provisions of section 31D are not restricted to radio and television broadcasting organizations only , but cover internet broadcasting organizations also“.

Commenting on behalf of radio broadcasters, Prashant Panday , CEO Radio Mirchi said “Worldwide, radio broadcasters have moved towards streaming their on-air products as well as offering niche online products. Here in India, the huge minimum guarantees demanded by labels have made that impossible. What we forget is that the biggest losers in all this are the artists, the ones who deserve all the support and recognition possible“.

Music/ songs played in public

Only registered societies can grant licences: HC

HC bars 3 copyright bodies from giving music licences, Dec 29, 2016: The Times of India

New Year celebrations, the Delhi high court has restrained three copyright societies from issuing any licences for playing music and songs of various artists in public.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, in an interim order, restrained the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) and Novex Communications Pvt Ltd from granting licences till April 24 next year, for alleged violation of section 33 of Copyright Act which mandates that only registered societies can grant licences in respect of copyrighted work.

HC also issued notice to the Centre, the Copyright Office, the three societies and the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India seeking their replies to the plea of Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) which has sought an enquiry against PPL, IPRS and Novex for allegedly violating section 33 of the Act. EEMA had moved court arguing that the registration of PPL and IPRS had lapsed on June 31, 2013, and has not been renewed yet, while Novex was never registered as a copyright society, yet they were issuing licences

Photocopies of textbooks can be issued

Abhinav Garg, Copyright is not a divine right: HC, Sep 17 2016 : The Times of India

Observing that “copyright is not a divine right“, the Delhi high court on Friday allowed Delhi University to issue photocopies of major textbooks published by leading publishers.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw held that the act of students getting books copied from DU's library or its authorised photocopy shop enjoys protection under Section 52 of the Copyright Act, which exempts education from copyright infringement.

In a 94-page order, the court essentially concluded that if DU can photocopy content within its library to impart education to students, then similar protection is enjoyed by the contractor, Rameshwari Photocopy Service. The modest shop in North Campus was thrust at the heart of the case by international publishers who sued it for copyright infringement in 2012, resulting in Friday's landmark verdict on intellectual property rights.

“Copyright, specially in literary works, is thus not an inevitable, divine, or natural right that confers on authors the absolute ownership of their creations. It is designed rather to stimulate activity and progress in the arts for the intellectual enrichment of the public,“ Justice Endlaw observed.

A group of publishers, including Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis, had objected in their suit to the photocopy shop selling course packs, that is, compilations of photocopied portions of different books prescribed by DU as suggested reading in its syllabus.

The HC held that when texts are used by DU for imparting education and not commercial sale, it can't infringe on copyright of the publishers. Justice Endlaw recalled his own experience and noted, “In the times when I was studying law, the facility available of photocopying was limited, time consuming and costly . The students then used to take turns to sit in the library and copy by hand pages after pages of chapters in the books suggested for reading and subsequently either make carbon copies thereof or having the same photocopied.“

The court further noted that DU's action may be guided by the limited numbers of each book available in its library , the limited number of days of the academic session, the large number of students requiring the said book, and the fear of the costly books being damaged on being subjected to repeated photocopying. Therefore, it could not be dubbed a copyright violation. The court pointed out that if the facility of photocopying wasn't available, students “instead of sitting in the comforts of their respective homes...would be spending long hours in the library and making notes thereof “.

Responding to the verdict, the publishers in a joint statement said, “It is unfortunate that the court's decision today could undermine the availability of original content for the benefit of students and teachers.“

Alumni can't use school’s name

The Times of India, Apr 19 2016

DPS alumni schools can't use name: HC

Abhinav Garg

The Delhi high court restrained a franchisee of schools floated by a group of Delhi Public School alumni, including former Union minister Salman Khurshid, from using “DPS“ on the ground of trademark infringement and copyright violations.

Justice V K Rao directed DPS World Foundation to drop the word from its operations and al so barred any of its agents, trustees, members, employees, franchisees, assignees etc from using the word claimed by Delhi Public School Society .

DPS World Foundation is headed by Louise Khurshid, wife of Salman who himself is a life trustee along with other wellknown people such as Montek Singh Ahluwalia. It runs schools in several cities, including Greater Noida, Patna and Pune.

In a detailed order on Mon day , Justice Rao held that the recently launched initiative had infringed on the right of DPS Society and they couldn't claim that by virtue of being “DiPSites“, the word could be relaunched in a new mode.

The order came on a suit filed by DPS Society accusing the foundation of trademark violation by using the DPS acro nymn in schools affiliated to the latter's trust.

The society learnt that DPS World Foundation had launched schools using the name and a deceptively similar logo that is also reflected on its website, said its lawyers, Sandeep Sethi and Puneet Mittal. Seeking permanent injunction, the society said the public was being misled that DPS World Foundation had a connection or even a nexus with Delhi Public School.

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