Madras High Court


Madras High Court: In an application filed by Viacom 18 praying for restraining several cable and internet service providers involved in illegal activities and unauthorised retransmitting, recording, streaming, audio-visual clips and full sports event of FIFA World Cup, 2022, M.Sundar, J. has granted interim injunction in favour of Viacom18 and restrained several cable and internet service providers from broadcasting the FIFA World Cup.

Viacom claimed that Federation Internationale De Football Association (FIFA) has granted it licence and various media rights including exclusive television rights, radio rights, mobile transmission rights and broadband transmission rights for the territories of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Further, it also has exploitation rights including distribution, broadcast, streaming of the series within the defined territories. Thus, such activities by unauthorised cable providers can cause heavy loss, damage and prejudice to Viacom 18.

The Court examined the aspects of prima facie case, balance of convenience and irreparable injury, that are necessary parameters for grant of injunction, and said that regarding the prima facie case, there is no difficulty in accepting prima facie that Viacom 18 is the owner of the copyright in the sporting event. In terms of balance of convenience, if interim order is not granted now, it would result in alleged piracy being completed in all and every aspect of the matter. Thereafter, it will lead to an irreversible situation and therefore, irreparable injury incapable of compensation parameter has also been satisfied.

Thus, the Court granted interim injunction (till 16-12-2022) restraining the respondents or any other person or entity from infringing copyright in the aforesaid sporting event, in any manner to prevent copying, transmission, communication, displaying, releasing, showing, hosting, streaming, uploading, downloading, exhibiting, playing and exhibition of the sporting event. Further, it directed the respondent to block the websites or web pages if it becomes necessary.

[Viacom18 Media Private Limited v. Bharath Sanchar Nigam Limited, 2022 SCC OnLine Mad 5390, decided on 18-11-2022]

*Apoorva Goel, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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