The Bombay Stock Exchange has warned comedian Kunal Kamra it could take legal action for the “unauthorised use” of a photo of its building, Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers in Mumbai. It claimed that a spoof tweet by the comedian had used the building for “nefarious activities”.
“A fake morphed photo against a political party using BSE building has been shared by Kunal Kamra,” BSE India said on Twitter on Friday. “BSE is extremely disappointed at unfortunate, unauthorized [and] illegal use of BSE buildg [building] fr [for] nefarious activities. BSE reserves right to take appropriate legal action agnst [against] Kunal Kamra.”
On April 14, Kamra had shared altered versions of historic photos or photos set in known settings to urge citizens to not vote for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “These photos are as real as Modiji’s promises,” he had said.
The set of four photos included the iconic Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai with the stock ticker reading “Don’t Vote for Modi”. The same phrase was used on an altered version of the image of a black hole. Kamra also used the historic image of a 1929 demonstration in Madras calling for a boycott of the Simon Commission where demonstrators are seen carrying black banners with the slogan “Simon Go Back” which has been replaced with “Don’t Vote for Modi”.
Kamra responded to BSE’s warning, saying his tweek was “clearly a joke”. “Sensex of humour is down by many points,” he said on Twitter. “PS - Do they have WiFi in jail?”
The 28-storey Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers has come to represent Mumbai’s Dalal Street and is a symbol of the India’s economy. In June 2018, the BSE obtained a trademark registration for the building under the Indian Trademarks Act of 1999. This means artists or brands seeking to feature the building in their work require BSE’s consent. A BSE media spokesperson had told Scroll.in that BSE Limited is yet to frame guidelines about the use of the building’s image in non-commercial contexts.
The Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai was the first building in India to get itself a registered trademark under the Act.