STAR INDIA PVT. LTD. V. MOVIESTRUNK.COM & ORS.

Eshita Yadav

PETITIONER: STAR INDIA PVT. LTD.
RESPONDENT: MOVIESTRUNK.COM & ORS.
COURT: HIGH COURT OF DELHI
BENCH: PRATEEK JALAN, J.
CITATIONS: MANU/DE/0585/2020
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 17th FEBRUARY 2020

FACTS:
• The plaintiff is the owner of Division Fox Star Studio who is involved in the business of production and distribution of films in India, holding exclusive licenses in respect of various films. The present suit is filed by the plaintiff against 67 named defendants alleging that the said defendants are engaged in the business of transmitting third-party content all over the Internet that is hosting, streaming, or broadcasting illegal content to the public free of cost.
• The plaintiff and defendant no. 68- Cape of Good Films jointly owns the Intellectual Property Rights in the film ‘Mission Mangal’ under the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957. The present case refers to the transmission, streaming, hosting, and broadcasting of the said film by the defendants on their various websites over the internet without the permission of the plaintiff that is transmitting it illegally.
• The plaintiff has alleged that the defendants have communicated infringing copies of the said film to the public for free and have also made it available for viewing or/and download without any authorization of the plaintiff. The plaintiff has also alleged that this activity of the defendants will directly affect the business of the plaintiff and constitutes an infringement of the exclusive rights conferred upon the plaintiff by Sections 14 and 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957.
• By referring to a recent judgment of the year 2019 , the plaintiff alleged that defendant no. 1-67 are ‘Rogue websites’ because of their principal activity involving reproduction, publication, and communication of infringing material over the internet. Along with it, the plaintiff also placed pieces of evidence in the form of screenshots from the defendants’ websites streaming and circulating the movie Mission Mangal.
• The plaintiff also conducted a third-party investigation and also filed an affidavit in that regard, alleging that as per the investigation report a large scale of copyright infringement of the plaintiff’s content has been performed by the defendants’ websites.
• Numerous notices were sent to the defendants for taking down the alleged content from the websites but they turned deaf ears to all of them. Therefore, the present suit has been filed by the plaintiff in the Hon’ble Court seeking permanent injunction restraining the defendants from violating the exclusive rights of the plaintiff, pass an order/decree to suspend the domain names of the defendants no. 1-67 and an order for costs in favor of the plaintiff and any other orders that the Hon’ble Court deems fit.
ISSUES:
• Whether the defendants were engaged in the infringements activities?
LAWS CONCERNED:
• Section 14 and 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957, granting exclusive rights to the plaintiff.
JUDGMENT:
• The Hon’ble Court stated that by looking at the electronic shreds of evidence and the investigator’s affidavit placed on record by the plaintiff, it is evident that the plaintiff’s content (Mission Mangal movie) has been streaming on the various defendant-websites illegally, without any authorization from the plaintiff. Therefore, the Hon’ble Court granted an ex-parte interim order against defendant no. 1-67 for unauthorized streaming, downloading, distributing, and communicating the film ‘Mission Mangal’ on their websites.
• The Court also ordered defendant no. 69 to suspend the domain names of the defendants no. - 1-7 and defendant no. 79 & 80, that is the Department of Telecommunications and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology respectively, to issue a notice calling upon all the internet and telecom service providers to block the access to rogue websites and any other websites as alleged by the plaintiff to be illegally streaming the movie in any manner whatsoever.
• The Hon’ble Court after having due regard to the above-mentioned things granted a decree in favor of the plaintiff against the defendants no. - 1-67 and 69. The Court also granted the actual costs of the suit, including the court fees and the counsel’s fees to the plaintiff.
• Therefore, on these terms, the present suit was disposed of by the Hon’ble High Court.
SIGNIFICANCE:
The present case is a true depiction of the day-to-day infringement of copyrights by various non-ethical platforms. Intellectual Property Rights are something that is owned and possessed by persons to grant them exclusive control over their creations. With the evolving times, it has become of utmost importance in the Corporate Sector all over the globe. To gain a competitive edge over others in the business sector, companies and individuals work day and night to invent new products and technology. It will get snatched away in a blink of an eye if not protected. Right from the idea to the completion of the final product, everything needs to be kept safe and protected from fraudsters and hence, Intellectual Property Rights come into the picture in the form of trademarks, copyrights, patents, design marks, etc. The Courts are met with challenging and new legal scenarios in the field of Intellectual Property daily, so it is crucial that the statutes governing Intellectual Property are applied adequately and every case is interpreted in light of those given statutes to reach a fair conclusion.