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Using Movie Posters – Are you abiding the Law?

Using Movie Posters – Are you abiding the Law?

Bollywood means India, music, romance, song, drama, dance, comedy and action. People born before the digital era probably remember the colourful, loud, over-the-top, hand painted Bollywood movie posters on hoardings all over cities and small towns. Starting from Mother India, Mera Naam Joker, Sholay, Don, Deewaar, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun etc.

We can see a lot of use of the Movie Posters on:
• T- Shirts
• Bag packs
• Phone Covers
• Laptop Back Covers
• Bottles and Sippers etc.


Yeah!! That’s sounds like a good business idea. As Indian we all get attached to Cinema and Cricket like Magnets. But before investing good pockets into this business there are few things that you should always keep in mind:
Copyright as the word suggests Copy+ Right, the person holding Copyright have the right to copy it and you don’t.

So if you are planning to do any such Business you have two options:
• Use your Original Design or
• Obtain permission from the creator to use copyrighted material.

Using Movie Poster for own commercial purpose is different from Film promotion: In 2013 “Krissh 3” Flair Pens came up with the Krissh pen series. Here also Commercial element was there but the fact was the movie actor Hrithik Roshan was a brand ambassador of Flair Pens and it was with due Permission of the Copyright Holders.
Indian Law safeguards and confers copyright protection of:
• Economic Rights of the author and
• Moral rights of the Author.
Movie posters are subject to copyright under the provision of section 14 of the Copyright Act, 1957 which enumerates that the author have the right to
• The right of adaptation
• Right of reproduction
• Right of publication
• Right to make translations
• Communication to public etc.

One should beware of Re-using Poster
Thinking to use Movie Posters outside India, then I am sorry to say that one of the supreme advantages of copyright protection is that protection is available in several countries across the world although the work is first published in India. Indian Copyrights are enforceable World-wide.
India being a member of a remarkable mechanism called “The Berne Convention” the protection is given to works first published in India, in respect of all countries that are member states to treaties and conventions to which India is a member.Thus, without formally applying for protection, copyright protection is available to works first published in India, across several countries. Also, the government of India has by virtue of the International Copyright Order, 1999, extended copyright protection to works first published outside India.

Fair Use: Here we don’t need permission. Fair Use- under Section 107 through 118 of U.K copyright, Designs and Patent Act, 1988 one can use Copyrighted work without the permission of the Copyright holder in the matters of:
     • Criticism
     • Comment
     • News Reporting
     • Teaching and research.

In India, Section 52(1)(a) of the Copyright Act, allows the persons to engage in fair dealing with a work for certain specified purposes (like criticism and review) without the permission of the rights owner.

In Kartar Singh giani v/s Ladha Singh : The reproduction of the thing should be fair. In order to constitute Unfairness there must be an intention to compete and to derive profit from such competition. Unless the Motive of the infringer were unfair in the sense of being improper the dealing would be fair.

Facts that can protect you from Copyright Infringement:
There are some sites that offer posters free for commercial use, as long as the owner of the posters gets credited. But if you want to use those posters, make sure you track down the true owner and get written permission to use the photo for commercial purposes. That can protect you from any legal problems that you might face otherwise, and is the only safe way to use a photo in your designs.

In Sourav Ganguly v. Tata Tea ltd., Sourav Ganguly returned from an extremely successful tour of England and Tata Tea Ltd. where he was then employed, was promoting its tea packet by offering the consumers a chance to congratulate Sourav through a postcard which was inside each packet. The company intended to profit from his popularity and his latest success.
By here you must be knowing the fact that you cannot use someone else’s work for your own earnings. Many people do such work but these people should realise that their Risks are much higher and once they are caught they will face Copyright Infringements lawsuit.
If you still feels to use someone else’s copyrighted work for your own commercial Purpose, you should be ready for every possible risk and their ultimate consequences.

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