This Startup Receives Legal Notice from Shark Tank India

Although Shark Tank India, a business reality TV series, has been a game-changer for many entrepreneurs, especially those with startups, the experience has not been the same for Dorje Teas.

This subscription-based tea startup offers fresh and organic Darjeeling Tea to customers all over India. However, the company recently faced a legal issue when it received a notice from Sony Pictures Networks India.

The co-founder of Dorje Teas, Sparsh Agarwal, who presented the startup on Shark Tank India and secured investments worth Rs 30 lakh from Anupam Mittal, Peyush Bansal, and Vineeta Singh for a 15% stake in the company, shared on LinkedIn that they were served a legal notice by Shark Tank India for using clips from their own pitch.

Agarwal explained that they were accused of copyright violation for using these clips on YouTube and Meta ads. It seems that Dorje Teas is not the only company that has received such a notice from Sony Pictures.

“We’re not the only ones — they’ve cracked down on each and every startup that appeared on Shark Tank,” he noted. “While I understand the copyright laws supporting it, I don’t understand why they would do this. After all Dorje Teas, and other companies like Skippi, Assembly, Perfora, Hoovu Fresh, Beyond Snack, Wakao Foods, Nasher Miles and so many others, are spending lacs every month to boost Shark Tank content, thereby giving free publicity and brand recall to the Shark Tank India brand,” he added.

Dubbing it as a bad business decision made by some executive/legal person within Sony, Agarwal further pointed out that it “goes against the entire ethos of promoting small startups.”

“Also Shark Tank Season 3 has been all about supporting a startup ecosystem in India and building a new India. Magar iss tarah kese banega naya India (How will we build a ‘new India’ this way?),” he asked in a selfie video.

While Agarwal received support on social media, some argued that Sony’s actions were technically justifiable. “Dear Sparsh, it’s crucial to understand that in this context, ‘You are the content.’ Your role in content creation is significant. You shared the content that features you on your social media
(YT/FB/Insta and likewise) but not on Sony’s social handles. In a way, the traffic they should have received would have been diverted to you. You are monetizing your social channels with the content they produce,” a content strategist commented.

“In the content business, the first to share the sneak preview gets more eyeballs. In addition, you may have signed a waiver form that states you give them rights in perpetuity for this content shot by them. Check your contract or see if you remember signing any digital form on the shooting sets that states this,” they added.

“You are spending lakhs to push Shark Tank, Shark Tank is spending crores to organize & promote the show in which your brand gets promoted. Just change the perspective,” another user noted.

Disclaimer: This information is covered based on the latest research and development available. However, it may not fully reflect all current aspects of the subject matter.

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