Law college apologises for Suits vs Jolly LLB 2 ad

The Indore Institute of Law violated copyright and Intellectual Property right in its ad.

NEW DELHI: Last week, readers came across a curious ad on the front page of The Times of India’s Bhopal edition. The print advert by Indore Institute of Law drew a comparison between two fictional characters Harvey Specter from American TV series Suits and Akshay Kumar from Jolly LLB. It bore the caption that an aspiring lawyer could be either – “Choice is yours.”

The picture started doing the rounds on social media platforms and netizens were quick to slam the college’s perceived elitist stance behind the ad. Others accused the institute of denigrating the “dignity of Indian lawyers.” Social media pundits also questioned whether the college had obtained permission from the original creators before running the campaign. A fair few wondered why the institute chose fictional characters instead of its own alumni or famous practitioners of law in the real world.

The overall impression in certain sections of social media was that the ad was in poor taste and problematic; and not the inspired idea that the advertisers imagined it to be.

Facing flak, the law college later issued an apology saying, “We assure everyone that it was absolutely not our intention to offend anyone or defame any section of the legal profession.”

But the damage was already done and the ad-makers were brutally trolled for their creative sense.

Please find our clarification regarding our advertisement published on 15/10/2020. We would like to make clear the...

Posted by Indore Institute of Law on Thursday, 15 October 2020

Being a Law Institute, the college should have known better than to draw such a superfluous comparison, besides flagrantly violating the Intellectual Property and Trademark code on top of that. As per rules, no agency or brand can use any celebrity or work of any other firm without their approval, and if it has done so then the company has to pay the penalty under the Copyright Act. However, if the ad is published on social media, not many will raise the question of ethics.

Using others’ IP in an advertisement is not uncommon, but this case has come into the limelight because the brand chose the ATL medium. Had the flyer had been limited to social media, it probably wouldn't have caused such a ruckus.

ASCI secretary-general Manisha Kapoor shared that the council has not received any complaint in this regard as of now.

Explaining the due process of dealing with violations, Kapoor said: “The advertiser will be asked to furnish the required permissions and an independent consumer complaints council will duly examine the objections and the advertiser’s response, and ascertain if the ASCI code has been violated. The advertiser will be asked to modify or withdraw the advertisement in question if it is found violating the ASCI code.”

ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its code for self-regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest, and truthful and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. The code also describes that the ad should not be derogatory to competition without any plagiarism. It should not use indiscriminately for the promotion of products, hazardous or harmful to society or to individuals.

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