ibibo‘s karaoke-like competition iSinger is the focus of a dispute between the MIH and TenCent owned company, and Music label T-Series. The matter, which was supposed to be taken up yesterday, will now be heard in July. We were in court at the hearing, and have subsequently contacted both ibibo and T-Series, who have declined to comment on the matter.
iSinger is a contest wherein the users submit a song via mobile. Other community members can then vote for their favourite singer. The contest is in multiple languages, and is being judged by music directors Neel Dutt (Bengali), Raghu Dixit (Malayalam), Sneha Khanwalkar (Hindi), Sanjeev Rana (Bhojpuri), Maulik Mehta (Gujarati). The possibility of a copyrighted song being uploaded is limited because users receive an automated call (in my case, from +911166246800), and are asked to sing into the mobile.
Now this case is different from that of YouTube, wherein, users have uploaded copyrighted content. This is a little tricky, and will come down to technicalities:
Firstly, is ibibo as a platform liable for user generated/uploaded content?
Secondly, is there a violation of copyright when a user sings a song and uploads to a website?
— Is a case of a user playing a tune in a background, and singing a song before uploading it on the site a violation of copyright?
— Is a case of a user merely singing lyrics (without a tune playing in the background), which are uploaded to a website, a violation of copyright?
Thirdly, what happens when a user uploads a full song via an automated call?
That is something for the court to deliberate on. T-Series has been fairly active in protecting its copyright – the company has so far taken on several Internet companies like Yahoo, MySpace, and most famously, YouTube.