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What legal ramifications arise when a teaser or promotional trailer—also referred to as a “promo”—is released ahead of a film’s theatrical release? Does it result in a formal contract, or similar obligations? If the elements in the promotional trailer are not included in the film, is this an unfair trade practice?
These inquiries have come up in the course of a consumer dispute in which the complaint alleging a deficit in service was accepted by the consumer courts on the grounds of a “contractual obligation” and “unfair trade practice.”

Looking at the case briefly

The NCDRC’s order, which found YRF to have a “deficiency of services” for excluding the song “Jabra Fan” from the movie “Fan” despite it being shown in the trailer, was challenged by Yash Raj Films Pvt. Ltd. (“YRF”) in the Supreme Court. The NCDRC also ordered YRF to compensate the complainant with Rs. 15,000.
The Court explained that the payment of consideration for a cinema ticket is to enable the viewer to only see the film, noting that the promotional trailer does not constitute any form of right of claim with regard to the content of the film.

The first respondent, or “complainant,” is a teacher at an Aurangabad school who claims that after seeing the movie’s advertising video, she made the decision to take her family to see it on the big screen. Even though the song was extensively shared to promote and publicize the film, she discovered that it was not included in the film. She indicated in a consumer complaint she filed with the District Consumer Redressal Forum that she expected to hear the song in a theater and that she saw the promotional video before deciding to see the film.

According to the State Commission, the appellant is a service provider and entertainment services fall under the term of “service.” The State Commission determined that the appellant had participated in unfair trade practices in addition to finding a deficit in service since the music from the promotional trailer was extensively shared despite not being featured in the movie.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission was consulted by the appellant in this case. By the ruling in question, the NCRCC determined that it would constitute an unfair commercial practice to deceive a customer by excluding a song from the promotional trailer from the film.

The matter under review is to whether there exists a “deficiency” in the entertainment service that the customer has obtained by purchasing a ticket and paying for it.

This argument is flawed because it assumes that a promotional video represents an offer or a promise. The complaint believes that the subsequent creation of a contract to see the film does not correspond with the purported promise made in the promotional trailer because of this mistaken belief. 


A promotional trailer is one-sided. Its sole purpose is to persuade the audience to buy a movie ticket—which is a separate transaction and agreement from the promotional trailer. A promotional film by itself does not constitute an offer and is unable to establish a binding contract. There is no chance that the promotional video will become a promise since it is not an offer. Consequently, there is no agreement, much alone a contract, between the complainant and the appellant stating that the music shown in the trailer will be played in the film and that its absence will be considered a service fault.

Another crucial distinction that has to be kept in mind is that service transactions pertaining to art are not covered by the court precedents on this issue. When providing art-related services, the service provider must use freedom and judgment in how they exhibit the work. This is persuasive and essential given the nature of the services at question. The differences are significant, and this is justified. As a result, the criteria used by a court of law to evaluate the representation and then the service must be modified to take into consideration the creative component of these transactions.

CASE TITLE: Yash Raj Films Private Limited versus Afreen Fatima Zaidi & Anr.

REFERENCES: www.barandbench.com


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