Trademark Registration

All You Need to Know About IPR Protection in Cinema

All You Need to Know About IPR Protection in Cinema
Karan Singh
| Updated: Oct 01, 2021 | Category: Intellectual Property

In India, everyone loves Cinema, and everyone loves watching movies either occasionally or routinely; it is because of its unbelievable capacity to adjust the human mind and make them stuck in the imaginary world that is portrayed over there in the movies. Everyone in India, irrespective of their caste, religion, age, or any other factor, will enjoy this art in some form or the other.  However, the other side of the Cinema is unknown to most of the people who just enjoy films or movies. The risk faced by the owners to safeguard themselves from illegal or unofficial use and exploitation of movies or films is simply uncountable if correct measures are not taken by owners to safeguard their exclusive rights in such types of works. Scroll down to check the information regarding IPR Protection in Cinema.

What is an IPR?

Before we discuss IPR protection in Cinema, let’s understand the meaning of IPR. IPR stand for Intellectual Property Rights are the rights provided to the owner over the creations of their minds. They generally give the creator an exclusive right over the use of their creation for a limited time period.

IPR is categorised into different parts, and you can check the same below:

Categorisation of IPR
  1. Patent: It’s an exclusive right provided to owners for an invention. In simple terms, a Patent gives the Patent owner the exclusive right to decide how or whether the invention can be used by others.
  2. Copyright: It’s a legal term that is used to illustrate the rights that creators have over their artistic & literary works.
  3. Trademark: It’s a sign, logo, name, or word that is used to differentiate the products or services of one entity from other entities in the market.
  4. Geographical Indications: Geographical indications are signs used on products that have a particular geographical origin and possess qualities, characteristics or status that are attributable to that place of origin.
  5. Industrial Designs: It comprises the aesthetic & ornamental factors of an article. A design may include 3-d or 2-d features.
  6. Trade Secrets: Trade secrets are IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) on confidential information which may be licensed or sold. The illegal acquisition, disclosure or use of such secret information in a way contrary to honest commercial or business practices by others is regarded as an unfair practice and an infringement of the Trade Secret protection.

IPR Protection in Cinema – An Overview

In every element of the movie, there is an involvement of IPRs. The Copyright Act, 1957[1] offers protection against several risks otherwise would have to be suffered by the producers & can be described as the essential protection as far as the exploitation of films and movies are concerned. However, the other Intellectual Property Laws such as Designs Act & Trademark Act will also play an essential role also to a limited extent. Now let’s talk about IPR protection in Cinema, such as Copyright Act & the Cinema and Trademark Act & the Cinema.

  • Trademarks and Cinema: Trademarks will also have importance for the success of movies. Most of the studios will have precise marks or logos to distinguish themselves from others, such as Yash Raj Films, Bhansali Products, etc. have made their maintained growth because of the accurate identity provided by the registered Trademarks.

There are some examples where the movie names obtain Trademark Registration for protection under Trademark Law. Some of the examples are:

  1. Another problem with the title or name from South India is concerning the title “Alluri Seetharamaraju”. It was registered by the last actor cum producer cum director NT Rama Rao to narrate the freedom fighter’s life, “Alluri Seetharamaraju”, but he could not work it out properly. Another well-known South Indian Film Star, Krishna, has to wait till the expiry of the registered period of Trademark in the proposed title to make it into a film or movie, which was a blockbuster of the time.
  2. An issue on the identical title of “Shorkut” as registered by producer and “Shorkut – The Con is On” by Actor Anil Kapoor has finally finished in Anil Kapoor withdrawing the application for Trademark Registration and alter it to another name that clearly distinguishes with already registered by the former.
  • Copyright and Cinema: This is another aspect of IPR protection in Cinema. The Copyright Act describes cinematograph film that means a video recording with the soundtrack and also any work produced via a process similar to the video films and cinematograph.

Producing a video or movie is an unwieldy process and consists of a long time duration due to the involvement of various forms of direction, choreography, recordings, script, music, screenplay and other technical departments & so on. The producer has to spill in money right from the starting of storyline discussion or even before that sometimes, to arise with a storyline that has the potential to earn decent profits when worked on and produced as per the specific expectations of the audience, which are highly unpredictable.

Hence, the rights associated with all such various works require protection by proper documentation, which can be referred to as “Title Documentation”. Then only it will be feasible for the producer with the business mind that converts a creative idea into a sellable or marketable product, to own the film’s right, to raise money to get the project done at the ground level, to make negotiations with the distributions for the potential reach of the movie to the audience in every platform.

Other related IPR protection in Cinema and The Digital Age

Digital technology not only made the whole process of film shooting easier than ever but also made it very cost-effective by reducing production costs. An extra advantage of using digital technology can be felt with extraordinary graphics and other unbelievable performances on screen. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it is only because digital technology and films, the internet, and movies could be streaming on OTT platforms. Hence, it is essential to have clear documentation for assignment or license of ownership rights, whether in entire part, to get the best result from the investment made into the film’s production.

Conclusion

After discussing IPR protection in Cinema, films or movies are one of the vital sources of entertainment to the audience on a large scale. But, the difficulty of the production process and requirement for the involvement of different technical departments improves the risk of possible loss that may have to be endured by the producer. In the digital age, with the movies on different platforms, it is more difficult to avail the full benefits from the film exploitation or movie produced.

Read our article:A Complete Analysis of IP Litigation in India

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Karan Singh

A legal writing enthusiast, a wanderer, and a zealous reader. After gaining a lot of knowledge about the diverse legal topics and developing research skills, Karan joined the league of legal content writers to deliver quality-rich blogs.

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