The founders of taxi aggregator Ola Cabs, Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, may be in trouble, as the Bengaluru police have registered a complaint of copyright infringement against the duo.
The complaint, filed by Lahari Recording Company, alleges that the company illegally downloaded and streamed songs on Ola Play, from popular Telugu and Kannada films, for which the former owns the rights.
The issue came to light after the director of the company, Tulsiram Naidu aka Lahari Velu booked a cab in Bengaluru, and realised that songs from Baahubali and Khaidi No.150 were being played in the car, for which no prior permission had been sought from the company.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Velu said, "I was shocked to see the songs of the film Baahubali, which was done illegally without taking any permission or license from us by Ola...(This) has incurred us a loss of nearly Rs five crore and through the court of law we will take compensation."
The BM report adds that the police raided Olaâ€™s office and seized equipment that was used to download the songs.
Other reports add that the songs were downloaded even before their audio release and loaded in prime play tabs across vehicles in Karnataka, Delhi, Kolkata and Tamil Nadu.
Claiming that Ola â€śhas been dragged into this issue with a mala fide intentionâ€ť, TNIE quoted Ola's legal counsel as saying, â€śWe are confident that our client will stand vindicated of these allegations. We have taken appropriate legal steps to protect our client's interests and the matter is now before the courts."
Speaking to Business Standard, Velu said, â€śThey (people running Ola) are IIT boys and educated. They know what they are doing is illegal. I am surprised...Till date, nobody came to us for licensing the songs.â€ť
Quoting sources, the report also adds that both founders have secured anticipatory bail from the courts.
Ola Play was originally launched in November last year, and was only available to its Prime members in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi initially.
During the launch, Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO, Ola, said that it will be rolled out across other cities and to over 50,000 cars by the end of March.
The platform was developed in partnership with Qualcomm, and is an in-car cloud technology which gives users a choice to enjoy personalized, interactive content during the ride.