27 Nov 2023 6:45 AM GMT
Justice Prathiba M. Singh of the Delhi High Court recently granted an ex-parte ad-interim injunction in favor of content creators Universal, Warner Bros, Netflix, Paramount Pictures and Disney in a suit filed against rogue websites disseminating their copyrighted content. Taking cue from its earlier judgment in Universal City Studios LLC. & Ors. v. Dotmovies.baby & Ors., the...
Justice Prathiba M. Singh of the Delhi High Court recently granted an ex-parte ad-interim injunction in favor of content creators Universal, Warner Bros, Netflix, Paramount Pictures and Disney in a suit filed against rogue websites disseminating their copyrighted content.
Taking cue from its earlier judgment in Universal City Studios LLC. & Ors. v. Dotmovies.baby & Ors., the court issued a “Dynamic+ injunction”, protecting not only the plaintiffs’ existing content but also future works.
“…this Court is convinced that a dynamic+ injunction as was granted in Universal City Studios LLC. & Ors. (supra) deserves to be granted, failing which, the pirated content will continue to be viewed, replicated and communicated to the public, causing immense loss to the economic as also moral rights of the Plaintiffs”.
In Universal City v. Dotmovies.baby, considering that there was a need to pass effective injunction orders as copyrighted films, TV series, etc. could be uploaded on rogue websites immediately upon release, a Dynamic+ injunction was granted, i.e. an injunction not only in respect of content/work existing at the time of filing of suit, but also future works of the plaintiffs in which their copyright exists and is violated by rogue websites.
Noting that the plaintiffs produce and distribute large volume of original creative content, including films, TV series, motion pictures, etc., Justice Singh said,
“…the content consisting of films, TV series, shows, etc. is itself dynamic in nature and the reproduction, hosting, uploading, streaming, downloading, broadcasting, telecasting or making available of this content in an unauthorized manner is, apart from constituting infringement of Copyright also resulting in enormous monetary loss to the Plaintiffs”.
Expressing dismay over the fact that plaintiffs’ content was open to download, access and viewing on the rogue websites without any license or authorization, the court explicated the factors behind proliferation of such websites thus,
“…the ease with which domain names can be registered and privacy protection on the registration of domains allows the owners and the operators of these websites to hide and camouflage themselves behind the said registrations. The said operators are also not being subject to any monetary damages or compensation due to the privacy protect feature made available by DNRs. The same in effect gives them an immunity to continue to engage in privacy of this nature”.
As some of the impugned websites were found to be newer versions of rogue websites which had previously been injuncted, Justice Singh spoke of the tendency of rogue websites to surface when notices or blocking orders are issued.
In this regard, the decision in UTV Software Communication Ltd. and Ors v. 1337x.to and Ors was recapitulated, where Justice Manmohan had taken note of the dynamic nature in which duplication of websites can happen, especially because mirror websites can spring up within a matter of a few minutes.
Pertinently, plaintiffs’ counsel informed the court that Delhi High Court’s orders to curb piracy were having vast implications, inasmuch as DNRs were locking/suspending domain names and customers were shifting to legitimate platforms.
Advocates Saikrishna Rajagopal, Suhasini Raina, R. Ramya, Mehr Sidhu and Raghav Goyal appeared for Plaintiffs
Case Title: Universal City Studios LLC. & Ors. v. Fztvseries.Mobi & Ors, CS(COMM) 833/2023
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 1175
Click here to read/download judgment