Intellectual Property Rights Conundrums in Indian Film Industry: Need for a Clear Legislation

Mudrika Mathur, Student, Five Year Law College, Jaipur

‘All persons enjoy equal rights in their own property irrespective of their celebrity status’[i]

The recent controversy between Bhajrangi Bhaijaan and Chand Nawab has sparked a debate on personality rights in India. This is not the first case which garnered the attention of the public. Earlier,the famed tamil actor,Rajnikanth also approached the Madras High Court for the protection and enforcement of personality rights vested in him.[ii] Films such as Jai Ho[iii] and Hamara Bajaj[iv] have instigated and brought about various issues of trademark infringement. Also, producers of films which directed Rahasya[v] and Gulabi Gang[vi] have also been dragged to the courts by persons who alleged that the movies, being allegedly based on their lives, infringe their rights of privacy or defame them.

Law naturally finds its way into all industries and sectors and the Indian Film Industry is no different. In today’s world of increased internationalization and commercialization of films, the relationship between IPR and films cannot be underplayed. Given the emergence and rapid growth of economic interests in films, it certainly cannot escape the application of Intellectual property rights.

This essay explicates a succinct account of the subtleties associated with the interplay between the Intellectual Property Law and The Indian Film Industry. While expounding the impugned facets, the paper passively highlights ‘Personality Rights’, ‘Copyright and trademark issues’, ‘John Doe orders’ and ‘Indian Film Industry Vis-a Vis CCI’ in the realm of Intellectual property law.

  1. INTRODUCTION

India is only the 14th largest entertainment and media market in the world with industry revenues contributing about 1% of its GDP. However, industry stakeholders acknowledge and ferret out the fact that India has the potential to achieve path-breaking growth over the next few years; possibly to reach a size of USD 100 billion.[vii]

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