The Delhi high court has restrained WhatsApp and Telegram from illegally circulating e-papers of The Times of India and sister publication Navbharat Times on their platform.
It issued notice to the two apps along with certain individuals who are administrators of groups on their platforms while barring them from circulating e-papers for alleged copyright violations.
Justice Jayant Nath said “prima facie” the act of illegally circulating the e-papers of plaintiff on the defendants’ platforms is violative of its copyright and ad-interim injunction is granted in the favour of Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd. Circulation of e-paper violates copyright, HC told
The court asked them to respond to the suit and comply with the order, listing the matter for further hearing on August 18.
In its order, the HC has also issued notice to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for its response on the suit.
In its plea, BCCL contended that epapers of Times of India and Navbharat Times are being circulated on various WhatsApp groups and Telegram without any authority and this amounts to infringement of its copyright.
“That despite the various measures taken by the Plaintiff to protect its proprietary site content, it has been recently observed that under the garb of providing online services, various web portals, mobile applications, intermediaries, social media platforms and their users, are misusing and perpetuating the misuse of the e-newspapers and e- magazines of the Plaintiff, by sharing unauthorized and illegal copies of the same in PDF format to/ among their own users or subscribers on different platforms such as websites and mobile applications, etc. The foregoing actions by such web portals, mobile applications, social media platforms and their users necessitate the filing of the instant suit so as to protect against and prevent the infringement of its proprietary information/content,” it added.
The court was informed that ever since lockdown was imposed in 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19, several individuals started downloading the e-papers and circulated it on other groups, which is a violation of Copyright law.
BCCL said in June 2020, the media house came to know about illegal usage of its copyright on WhatsApp which was providing free usage of its e-papers and notice was issued to the platform but to no avail.
“The cause of action further arose when despite various cease and desist notices being issued to offending websites, no action was taken and the said websites continued to circulate the Plaintiffs e-papers. The cause of action is still continuing and is accruing day by day and shall continue to so accrue till the Defendants cease with their impugned activities,” it said
Read order here: