Mamata Banerjee, Priyanka Chopra And Aishwarya Rai: What Bonds Them Together And Why?
My concern here however does not cover the repetition of the act of Mamata Banerjee government in arresting individuals targeting political personalities including herself. I look at the issue from two perspectives here: (i) morphing the image of a woman and thereby creating/distributing/sharing the same as a non-consensual image (and not nonconsensual pornography); (ii) who should be ideally liable and under which law, and whether this issue attracts any legal liablity or not. As the reports and the image in question (which is still available when we search with keywords such Mamata Banerjee meme) suggests, it was not one, but two women were targeted : Priyanka Chopra, the original person in the image, who was heavily trolled because of her Met Gala, 2019 attire and Mamata Banerjee, whose face was morphed with the picture of Priyanka Chopra . Priyanka Chopra has not yet filed any police complaint for trolling; neither she has filed any complaint for morphing her picture. It was not the same case for Banerjee: she made it sure that the individual who shared the image should get arrested under several provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) including S.500 of the Indian Penal Code which prescribes punishment for defamation. The news reports however did not mention about the specific provisions of IT Act under which she was arrested. Noticeably, neither Information Technology Act, nor Indian Penal Code recognizes any offence of' 'morphing'. The term does not find any mention in any law. Further, the existing laws neither specifically focuses attention for creation of morphed image of women for damaging her reputation. However, cutting and pasting of face is holistically addressed under several laws including Indecent Representation of women prevention Act (especially when the content is used to showcase women in an indecent manner), S.509 of the IPC (which prescribes punishment for word, gesture, or any act made to insult the modesty of a woman), Ss66D( Punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource) 66E Punishment for violation of privacy) etc, which may be coupled with Ss.. 67 (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) or 67A ( Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form), (this is especially when the image or related text suggests sexual offences ) or S.354 C IPC (which prescribes punishment for voyeurism targeting women). Minute scrutiny of these provisions may suggest that they may loosely skirt around the concept of anti-defamation law as well especially when the reputation of the targeted victim is at stake due to the content created/transmitted .
Then in that case, if the photographs were their personal properties, could they have pursued the police for arrest? We have to turn our attention to chapter IV of the Copyright Act, 1957 for this : three sub clauses of S.17 attract my attention here which are as follows:
17. First owner of copyright.— Subject to the provisions of this Act, the author of a work shall be the first
owner of the copyright therein:
(a) in the case of a literary, dramatic or artistic work made by the author in the course of his
employment by the proprietor of a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical under a contract of
service or apprenticeship, for the purpose of publication in a newspaper, magazine or similar
periodical, the said proprietor shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first
owner of the copyright in the work in so far as the copyright relates to the publication of the work
in any newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, or to the reproduction of the work for the
purpose of its being so published, but in all other respects the author shall be the first owner of the
copyright in the work;
(b) subject to the provisions of clause (a), in the case of a photograph taken, or a painting or portrait
drawn, or an engraving or a cinematograph film made, for valuable consideration at the instance of
any person, such person shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of
the copyright therein;
(c) in the case of a work made in the course of the author's employment under a contract of service or apprenticeship, to which clause (a) or clause (b) does not apply, the employer shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein;
What we see from the above discussion is, Supreme Court has yet again broadened the meaning of freedom of speech, but failed to provide guidelines which may have strengthened rights of women who may be victimized by way of morphing in general. The court was in a hurry to undo the wrong of a political persona and the police who may have acted under her direction. But failed to create a lasting (and impressive) interpretation of laws which could have saved millions of women victims of nonconsensual images.
This blog was earlier published in Halder.Debarati (2019)Mamata Banerjee, Priyanka Chopra and Aishwariya Rai : What bonds them together and why. Published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com.
 Singh V.P. (2019) Mamta Banerjee Meme: What For Did The SC Ask Priyanka Sharma To Apologise?
 See Mamata Banerjee meme: SC grants bail to BJP worker Priyanka Sharma, asks her to apologise after release. Published in https://www.indiatoday.in/elections/lok-sabha-2019/story/mamata-banerjee-meme-bjp-worker-bail-west-bengal-priyanka-supreme-court-1524467-2019-05-14 on May 14, 2019.
 See ET online (2019)Vivek Oberoi tweet Aishwarya Rai's meme; Sonam Kapoor, Jwala Gutta lash out at actor
Published @//economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/69413084.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst on May 21, 2019. Accessed on May 21, 2019
 Halder D., & Jaishankar K. (2016) Celebrities and Cyber Crimes: An Analysis of the Victimization of Female Film Stars on the Internet. Temida – The journal on victimization, human rights and gender. 19(3-4), 355-372. ISSN: 14506637
 See Art 13 in the DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
on copyright in the Digital Single Market @ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52016PC0593