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Saikrishna assembles with AZB, TTA-Dhall to secure Avengers Age of Ultron release over digital projection CCI complaint

What happened at the CCI
What happened at the CCI

Saikrishna & Associates won the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) approval for the Walt Disney movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, securing its release in theatres today after the CCI failed to find anti-competitive behavior by the Hollywood producers.

Saikrishna managing partner Saikrishna Rajagopal led with competition law partner Subodh P Deo and Radhika Seth, Associate.

K Sera Sera Digital Cinema, through advocate Sudhanshu Batra, had informed the commission that Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) - a joint venture between Walt Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros - was formed to monopolise India’s digital cinema exhibition market by releasing its movies in India only in digital form through DCI compliant servers and projectors, hence forcing Indian digital cinema technology businesses to adhere to DCI standards even if other technology was better, reported the Business Standard.

AZB & Partners Delhi competition law partner Samir Gandhi acted for Sony Pictures Entertainment and Talwar Thakore & Association (in collaboration with Vinod Dhall), through Vinod Dhall, acted for Fox having briefed senior advocate Amit Sibal.

K Sera Sera told the commission that it has its equipment installed at over 300 theatres in India at a cost of Rs 1,50,000 per theatre, catering to over 100 million viewers in India.

However the CCI noted in its order that DCI-compliant technology was better than non-DCI compliant as far as quality and security is concerned, and it is harder to pirate.

The respondents also argued that DCI standards were voluntary and openly available on its website, and were not mandatory to follow for co-exhibitors to gain a license to exhibit their content. It is just that the uniform specifications for digital cinema ensure that the product and services of all industry participants are compatible, secure and interoperable.

The commission noted that no infringement of Section 3 and 4 of the Competition Act 2000, as alleged by the informant, seemed to have taken place.

K Sera Sera Age of Ultron CCI order


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