The filmmaker Suneel Darshan, who has produced films such as Jaanwar (1999) , Ek Rishtaa (2001) and Talaash The Hunt Begin (2003) which starred Akshay Kumar, has made an FIR in the case of YouTube, Google and its CEO Sundar Pichai.
The reason to file an FIR with the company is to prevent copyright violation. He has claimed that his film from 2017 Ek Haseena Thi Ek Deewana Tha which starred the son Shiv Darshan has been illegally streamed via YouTube and has racked up thousands of viewers.
Darshan has also declared that he’s not yet licensed the rights of the movie to any online streaming service and has written to Google several times to remove the film in addition to reporting it to the platform, but there’s been no response from Google.
Speaking to the ETimes regarding this FIR issue, Suneel said, “My film, which I’ve never uploaded to any website and has not been made available to anyone else in the entire world, got discovered by YouTube which has millions of viewers. I repeatedly asked the site (Google) to pull the plug and I was in a flurry of posts. I became so annoyed I was forced to leave. I was forced to appear before the court. And , luckily, the judge granted the order I requested in my favor and directed the police to make an FIR. There are more than a billion infractions, and I have an inventory of all of them. The problem is that these people claim they are following the law but don’t have any system in place. People who are monetizing my videos are profiting. I’m not trying to question technology, but I do want to challenge the use and misuse of technology.”
He also said that he’s willing to negotiate the possibility of a settlement, “I’m only fighting for my rights. What is the best way to allow someone to make use of my content, only copyrighted by me, not offered to anyone, and not shared with anyone via the internet? They have their own motives, and they refuse to take it off. I’ve lost the film’s value and they’ve previously done this, but which is a completely different matter.”
Suneel’s advocate Aditya Chitale has told the website that “By the uploading of the audiovisuals as well as the audio from the film Ek Haseena Thi Ek Deewana Tha, YouTube and its officials have not just significantly reduced the marketability and quality of the intellectual rights to the audio and video of the film however, YouTube has also unjustly enhanced its own business by generating huge profits from ads and other sources via the presentation of the film’s content. Mr Darshan had made numerous complaints to Google/Youtube and its representatives repeatedly however they did not listen to his protests and continued to make enormous profits at the expense of Mr Darshan through unlawfully exploiting the intellectual rights of his film.”
Interestingly, Pichai was announced recently to be among the winners of the Padma Bhushan honour by the Government of India.
In response to a question from BollywoodLife whether he’s willing to be targeted by social media that might accuse him of doing this to gain publicity, Darshan replied, “I don’t want to gain publicity in any way. I’m just trying to make sure that facts are on the public record. I’m not aiming for anything more than to do that. As a filmmaker and copyright owner, I am entitled to certain rights. When you violate them in a way that is ruthless What should I do? I’m an insignificant person. Filmmakers make a decision to invest in a film, and, in particular, a guy like me, but I am not from Bollywood. I’m part of an Indian cinema industry. I don’t create films which are sponsored by corporations. For me, everything is different. It’s all about my survival and livelihood. This has had a significant financial burden on my career and that’s why I needed to seek out the legal authority.”
In addition to directing, Suneel Darshan has also made films such as Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya and Andaaz. In his professional career it has been a lot of collaborations together with Akshay Kumar Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol.