Delhi High Court


Delhi High Court: In a case filed by Warner Bros. Entertainment Limited (‘plaintiff') seeking a decree of permanent injunction restraining (‘Defendant 1') and such other mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites discovered to provide additional means of accessing the Defendant Website, Navin Chawla, J. granted permanent injunction against Defendant 1 and other domains/domain owners/website operators/entities which are discovered to have been engaging in infringing the Plaintiff’s exclusive rights by hosting, streaming, reproducing, distributing, making available to the public and/or communicating to the public, or facilitating the same, on their websites, through the internet in any manner whatsoever, any cinematograph work/content/programme/ show in relation to which Plaintiff has copyright.

Counsel for plaintiff contended that the motion pictures produced by the Plaintiff, being works of visual recording and which include sound recordings accompanying such visual recordings, qualify to be a “cinematograph film” under Section 2(f) of Copyright Act, 1957. The Plaintiff claims that this Court has jurisdiction by virtue of Section 13(1) read with Sections 13(2) and 5 of the Act, since the Plaintiff’s cinematograph films are released in India, the cinematograph films of the Plaintiff would be entitled to all the rights and protections granted under the provisions of the Act.

Thus, it is the case of the Plaintiff that as a result of the unauthorized transmission of their content, the rogue websites infringe the copyright of the Plaintiff in the original works produced by it, which have been granted protection under the provisions of the Act.

On the contention that the Defendant 1 and 14 to 21 are rogue websites, the Court placed reliance on UTV Software Communication Ltd. v., 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8002 along with documentary evidence placed on record, the Court noted that that there is sufficient evidence to hold that the Defendant no. 1, 14-21 are “rogue websites” and that this is a fit case for passing a summary judgement invoking the provisions of Order XIIIA of Civil Procedure Code (‘CPC'), as applicable to commercial disputes.

The Court further noted that the present matter is mainly concerned with the enforcement of the injunction orders which are passed against the rogue websites who do not have any defense to the claim of copyright infringement but use the anonymity offered by the internet to engage in illegal activities, such as copyright infringement in the present case.

The Court passed a decree and granted an injunction against the defendants.

The Court further reiterated the concept of dynamic injunctions and its application on permitted subsequent impleadment of mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites as discussed in UTV Software case (supra), the Court opined that the same directions are liable to be made in this case also.

Thus, the Court permitted the plaintiff to implead mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites which provide access to the Defendants Nos. 1, 14 to 21's websites by filing an appropriate application under Order I Rule 10 CPC, supported by affidavits and evidence, and such website impleaded will be subject to same decree.

[Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. v., 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2826, decided on 26-08-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Ms. Suhasini Raina, Ms. R. Ramya and Ms. Mehr Sidhu, Advocates, for the Plaintiff;

None, for the defendant.

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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