Monday, April 13, 2009

Copycats get warning from Hollywood

MUMBAI: From lifting tunes to transporting entire scenes and sometimes even "adapting" a storyline to suit the desi audience, in Bollywood, sab
chalta hai. Until April 4, when Hollywood entertainment giant Warner Brothers issued a public notice across newspapers warning members of the Indian film fraternity that Warner Bros Entertainment Inc (Warner) is the joint author and co-owner of the 13-Academy Award-nominated film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The notice, issued by the studio's attorneys Lall & Seth Advocates, clearly stated that there were recent press reports indicating that certain parties were in the process of producing a film in Hindi based on the Brad Pitt-Cate Blanchett movie. The notice warned anyone infringing copyright with legal action.

Industry sources say Warner probably pre-empted the notice because a reputed producer who has tied up with another foreign giant is making a Hindi film with an "A-list action star and a light-eyed heroine"-with a storyline resembling that of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

"To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that a Hollywood studio has issued a public notice warning Bollywood producers not to infringe on copyright,'' says Vikramjit Roy, media advisor to a leading Boollywood company.

Earlier, Hollywood actor Will Smith's company Overbrook Entertainment had issued a notice to actor Sohail Khan's production house for making Partner, a film that borrowed its plot from Smith's Hitch. Says an industry source, "Salman's brother Sohail got away with the Partner issue lightly because it was sorted out by a foreign studio who played mediator.''

With infringement of IPR (intellectual property rights) becoming such a focused issue, Hollywood giants have started to watch the Indian film space with a hawk's eye.

Says UTV Motion Pictures CEO Siddharth Roy Kapur, "Many Hollywood studios themselves have plans for the Indian market. They're probably planning to remake some of their own films in India. So, they feel it is best to warn those who may cross the line.''

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