Dorje Teas Faces Legal Notice From Shark Tank India Over Clip Usage

Dorje Teas Faces Legal Notice From Shark Tank India Over Clip Usage

Dorje Teas Faces Legal Notice From Shark Tank India Over Clip Usage

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Sparsh Agarwal, co-founder of Dorje Teas, stated that they were notified about copyright infringement due to their use of these clips in advertisements on YouTube and Meta.

7 May 2024

By Payoshi Bisht

Dorje Teas, a subscription-based tea startup, has been facing controversies following its appearance on the hit business reality TV series Shark Tank India. Dorje, which specialises in delivering fresh-from-the-farm, organic Darjeeling Tea to customers across India, has recently found itself at the receiving end of a legal notice from Sony Pictures Networks India, the broadcasting powerhouse behind Shark Tank India. 

The notice alleged copyright infringement over the use of clips from Dorje Teas’ own pitch on the show, and claimed that it has been utilised by the startup in its promotional efforts on platforms such as YouTube and Meta ads.

Sparsh Agarwal, co-founder of Dorje Teas, took to LinkedIn to reveal the legalities the company now faces. Despite securing investments worth Rs 30 lakh for 15 per cent equity on the show, Agarwal lamented the unexpected turn of events, highlighting that Dorje Teas is not the only target of Sony’s crackdown. According to Agarwal, several other startups featured on Shark Tank India have also been served similar notices, sparking a wave of concern among the entrepreneurial community.

Expressing confusion at Sony’s actions, Agarwal emphasised the irony of the situation. He stated that, “We’re actively promoting Shark Tank content, effectively providing free publicity and brand recall for Shark Tank India. This move not only contradicts the ethos of supporting small startups but also undermines the spirit of fostering India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem,” he added in a selfie video which he shared on social media. 

There has been another argument that supports Sony’s stance as legally justifiable. Content strategists asserted that Agarwal’s use of Shark Tank content on his own social media channels diverts traffic that should rightfully flow to Sony. Additionally, they suggested that Agarwal may have given up rights to the content through a waiver form signed during the show’s production.

Amid the polarising debate, another perspective emerged, urging a shift in perception. One social media user commented that Shark Tank is spending crores to organise & promote the show in which startups are given a platform to showcase their business. They should focus on changing their perspective.