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“Akuate Internet Services et al. v. Star India”

Copyright Act, Sec. 16 – Akuate Internet Services Pvt. Ltd. & Anr., Onmobile Global Limited and Idea Cellular Ltd. v. Star India Pvt. Ltd. & Anr.

  1. 1.

    Match information – which are essentially facts occurring as against the public at large – do not per se have any claim to protection under the Copyright Act, as the mere expending of resources and skill is a precondition that no longer holds good.

  2. 2.

    All limitations that apply to copyrights (such as no protection to ideas or facts or underlying information, the idea expression merger doctrine, etc.) apply in the case of copyrighted works which are also the subject of broadcast rights.

  3. 3.

    If Parliament had intended to give protection to facts, “time sensitive information” or events (such as match information), there would have been conscious protection of those rights by express provision. Therefore, the exhaustive nature of the regime in Chapter VIII precludes, by its very nature, any claim for protection over and above what is expressly granted by its provisions.

  4. 4.

    Any exclusive property or other such rights cannot be claimed to injunct the publication of match information, or hot-news, irrespective of whether the publication of such information is done for commercial gain or without any such motive.

  5. 5.

    To say that the doctrine of unfair competition prohibits the misappropriation of match information would either mean that misappropriation under common law can supplant the Copyright Act (which cannot be the case), or that copying and misappropriation refer to two distinct acts, which would be a distinction without a difference. Accordingly, unless a qualitatively different element is purported to be included in the doctrine of “unfair competition” as compared to a copyright claim, the pre-emption under Sec. 16 would apply to such claims, as is the case here.

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Decision of the High Court of Delhi 30 August 2013 – Case Nos. FAO(OS) 153/2013, CM APPL. 4665/2013; FAO(OS) 160/2013, CAV 265/2013, CAV 266/2013, CM APPL. 4880/2013, CM APPL. 4881/2013, CM APPL. 4882/2013; FAO(OS) 161/2013, CAV 267/2013, CAV 268/2013, CM APPL. 4883/2013, CM APPL. 4884/2013. “Akuate Internet Services et al. v. Star India”. IIC 45, 103–104 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40319-013-0151-1

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