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Business News/ Companies / Start-ups/  Dorje Teas founder Sparsh Agarwal alleges legal notice from Sony Pictures, says ‘Cracked down on every startup…’
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Dorje Teas founder Sparsh Agarwal alleges legal notice from Sony Pictures, says ‘Cracked down on every startup…’

Founder of Dorje Teas, Sparsh Agarwal, said he allegedly faces a legal dispute with Sony Pictures Networks India over a copyright breach and expressed concerns over a crackdown on Shark Tank startups.

As per the official website, Dorje Teas aims to make 'high-quality organic Darjeeling Tea available, affordable, and accessible for Indians'.Premium
As per the official website, Dorje Teas aims to make 'high-quality organic Darjeeling Tea available, affordable, and accessible for Indians'.

Sparsh Agarwal, the founder of Dorje Teas and a participant in Shark Tank India, finds himself allegedly embroiled in a legal dispute with Sony Pictures Networks India, he said in a now-deleted LinkedIn video post, as per multiple reports.

The media giant has allegedly issued a stern notice, accusing Agarwal of a serious breach of copyright protocols, he claimed.

Also Read | FlexiMe co-founder reveals the enormous cost of ‘thanking Shark Tank India’ 

According to Agarwal’s post, Sony's notice relates to use of clips from Shark Tank India for his company's YouTube and Meta Ads, Times of India reported.

Speaking to Mint on May 9, Agarwal said he hopes Sony rethinks its decision. “Shark Tank India has been a catalyst for India's startup ecosystem. I request the senior executives of Sony to rethink this decision and keep aside the copyright laws and be more large hearted!" he said.

Founder Raises Alarm

Agarwal has expressed concern over the legal notice from Sony. "They've cracked down on every startup that appeared on Shark Tank. Businesses like Beyond Snack, Wakao Foods, Nasher Miles, Dorje Teas, Hoovu Fresh, Assembly, Skippi, Perfora, and many others spend thousands of dollars every month promoting Shark Tank content. It ultimately benefits Shark Tank India by providing free visibility and brand recall," MSN news quoted him saying.

He also called out the legal notice as a show of force "against the entire ethos of promoting small startups," the report added.

Also Read | ‘How to kill a company?’ Shark Tank's Anupam Mittal has advice for entrepreneurs when hiring for senior roles

"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 like this?), he asked in the video, it said.

As per the official website, the founders of Dorje Teas left their jobs "to revive our family's heritage, Selim Hill Tea Garden, in Darjeeling by making high-quality organic Darjeeling Tea available, affordable, and accessible for Indians".

Sony's Legal Battles with Shark Tank Participants

This isn't the first time a Shark Tank participant has claimed Sony sent them legal notice for copyright infringements.

Also Read | Shark Tank India: What happens once a deal is struck on screen? Anupam Mittal says…

FlexiMe co-founder Manjeet Singh took to LinkedIn to seek help after Sony "reported logo infringement and some other violations" against FlexiMe, and seven other companies.

"Our traffic grew by approx 80x and lead flow increased by over 40x. We got amazing visibility and branding and we were on the moon literally. We saw an amazing boost on social media especially Instagram and social media traffic boomed … Suddenly our worst nightmare started on 13th April 2024, exactly 30 days after airing, when our Instagram suddenly got blocked without any warning," Singh said.

Also Read | ‘Trying to hold back tears’: Shark Tank India participant slams Vineeta Singh; Internet reacts

“Our ads account got blocked, it crashed our business and significant effect on leads and business," he said. Singh said FlexiMe's revenues have been constantly falling since then, and its organic traffic took a hit. The company missed all its targets and the clients are getting worried.

"We have no social presence and it's killer for an online business such as ours," Singh explained.

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Published: 09 May 2024, 08:43 AM IST
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