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Jackie Shroff's plea for personality rights' protection: Delhi HC reserves order on interim relief

By Shreya Agarwal      15 May, 2024 06:20 PM      0 Comments
Jackie Shroffs plea for personality rights protection Delhi HC reserves order on interim relief

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has reserved its order on interim relief in a plea by Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff to protect his name, voice, image or any other attribute from being used and/or commercialized without his consent.

Hearing the matter today a single judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula reserved order on the interim relief.

Earlier the bench had issued summons to the defendants in Shroff's plea to restrain firms, social media and GIF-making platforms, and artificial intelligence (AI) apps from infringing his personality rights.

The counsel for Jackie Shroff, Advocate Pravin Anand argued for interim injunction restraining defendants from using his personality attributes, stating, "The money that is being earned by the defendants is not earned by virtue of the cartoon, but by virtue of the strength of Jackie Shroff."

He cited a judgment, contending, "The distinctive right of publicity in the common law system is that it recognizes the commercial value of this publicity."

Their main argument was that Shroff's name and personality rights were being commercialized without his consent - seemingly 'funny' content was being used not just for laughs, but for selling products as well.

Further in some instances, Anand pointed out that offensive memes have also been created using his images and voice, and that pornographic content has also been created using his persona.

Clarifying that Shroff is not against parody or satire, Anand emphasized that his case is against commercialization, defamation and distorted uses of his personality.

One of the defendants, however, told Court today, "This is a user-generated content, firstly, and we are an intermediary. We have anyway removed it after receiving the advance notice from Jackie Shroff."

He added, "This was already available as free content elsewhere."

The Court replied, "What can you do? The celebrities want protection of their personality."

Yet another one argued that the use was already in Shroff's knowledge.

At this point the Court proceedings were muted and remained muted until the end of the hearing in Shroff's case.

After the same was over, the Court's mic was unmuted as usual.

The Court reserved its verdict, stating, "We will pass an order, we know the matter is important to you."

Shroff has also impleaded the Department of Technology and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) as parties.

He has sought protection of his voice, image, likeness and other personality elements, which he claims are distinctive - he has highlighted that the content floating around is not just monetizing his personality without his consent, but is also disparaging it by causing 'confusion'.

Google-owned Tenor, GIF-making company Giphy, as well as other AI platforms have been made parties to the suit.

“Further, on account of their inimitable nature, the Plaintiff's name, voice, image, likeness, signature, mannerisms, gestures and other such elements of the Plaintiff's persona also have a huge commercial value associated with them. Any third party found using any of the above stated elements of the Plaintiff's persona is bound to cause confusion and deception amongst the general public as to affiliation with/ sponsorship by the Plaintiff,” Shroff argued in his suit.

“This is more egregious when the Defendants' activities are aimed at benefiting commercially. In such cases, the Plaintiff's identity is used in an unwholesome and unsavory manner which maligns his reputation and exposes him to ridicule, thereby tarnishing his image," he said.

Advocates Pravin Anand, Ameet Naik, Madhu Gadodia, Dhruv Anand and Udita from Anand and Naik appeared for Jackie Shroff.

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