20 Sep 2023 6:38 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday passed an interim order protecting the personality rights of Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor and restrained various entities from misusing his image, name, voice or other elements of his persona for monetary gains without his consent. Justice Prathiba M Singh also restrained “other unknown persons” from disseminating various videos, links of which will...
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday passed an interim order protecting the personality rights of Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor and restrained various entities from misusing his image, name, voice or other elements of his persona for monetary gains without his consent.
Justice Prathiba M Singh also restrained “other unknown persons” from disseminating various videos, links of which will be uploaded in the order, and directed that the same shall be taken down immediately by all internet service providers.
The court passed interim injunction order in Kapoor’s suit seeking protection of his personality rights. The suit seeks to restrain various entities, including John Does, from violating his personality rights by using his name, acronym ‘AK’, nicknames like 'Lakhan', 'Mr. India ', 'Majnu Bhai' and phrase ‘Jhakaas’ and his voice and images, without his permission for commercial gain.
Kapoor is also seeking protection against the misuse of his personality rights through use of any technology including artificial intelligence, deepfakes, GIFs etc.
The suit is accompanied by an application seeking interim injunction against the defendants during the pendency of the suit.
Advocates Ameet naik, Pravin Anand, Madhu Gadodia, Dhruv Anand and Abha shah represented the Bollywood actor.
The court directed that three domain names using Kapoor’s name be blocked and suspended and be transferred in his name, subject to him paying requisite charges.
“Defendant Nos.1 to 16 or anyone acting for or on their behalf are restrained from utilizing the Plaintiff-Anil Kapoor’s name, likeness, image, voice, personality or any other aspects of his persona to create any merchandise, ringtones, ring back tones, or in any other manner misuse the said attributes using technological tools such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, deep fakes, face morphing, GIFs either for monetary gains or otherwise to create any videos, photographs, etc., for commercial purposes, so as to result in violation of the Plaintiff’s right,” the court ordered.
It added: “Defendants no 17, 19 and 20 are directed to immediately block and suspend the [impugned] domain names.”
”The other unknown persons are also restrained from disseminating the videos, the links of which are attached to the present order as ‘Annexure A’. The said links shall be taken down immediately by all ISPs..”
While dictating the order, Justice Singh observed that the fame for a person can come with its own disadvantages and that the case shows that reputation and fame can transcend into damage to a person.
The court said that while there is no doubt that free speech about a person in the form of satire and writings is protected, as also criticism which can be genuine, however, when the same crosses the line and results in tarnishement or jeopardising the individual's personality and elements associated with the individual, the same would be illegal.
“Using a person's names, voice, dialogue,image in illegal manner that too for commercial purposes cannot be permitted. The celebrities rights of endorsement could be a major source of livelihood for the celebrity which can't be completely destroyed by way of selling merchandise etc.,” the court said.
It added: “The technological tools now available make it possible for any illegal and unauthorised user to make use of any celebrity's persona by using such tools including AI. The celebrity also enjoys right to privacy and doesn't wish that his or her image, voice is portrayed in a dark manner as is being done on porn websites.”
The court observed that the actor’s image being morphed with other actresses is not merely offensive to him alone but also to other third actresses. Justice Singh said that the court cannot turn a blind eye to such misuse and that tarnishment is an actionable tort which Kapoor would have to be protected against.
“The court has no doubt in holding that the plaintiff's name, voice, persona etc deserves to be protected. Not only for his own sake but also for the sake of his friends and family who would not like to see his name being misused, tarnishing and negative use,” the court said.
It is Kapoor’s case that his name, voice, image and other elements of his persona have acquired a unique distinctiveness due to his reputation, appearance in over 100 films, TV shows web series and advertisements.
He has said that any third party found using his personality rights is bound to cause confusion and deception amongst the general public as to its affiliation with the actor.
In November last year, a coordinate bench had granted similar relief in favour of veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan in his suit for protection of his publicity rights against the fake Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) lottery scam and other online frauds where his photo and voice are being misused to deceive the public.
Title: Anil Kapoor v. Simply Life India & Ors.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 857
Click Here To Read Order