Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. v. Five Desi & Ors

Gitanjali SadanCase Summary

Blocking access to websites infringing copyrights of Hotstar

Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. v. Five Desi & Ors
In the High Court of Delhi
CS (Comm) 1249/2016 & I.A. 2487/2019
Before Justice Prateek Jalan
Decided on November 07, 2019

Relevancy of the Case: Blocking access to websites infringing copyrights of Hotstar

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 79)
  • The Copyright Act, 1957 (Section 51)
  • The Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (Order XIII-A)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The plaintiff owns a digital platform “HOTSTAR” through which it offers online streaming services.
  • The plaintiff claims that certain websites (defendant websites) are illegally distributing, transmitting and broadcasting their content to the public. This is infringing the copyrights in the original works produced by them.
  • The plaintiff procured an ex-parte ad-interim injunction order restraining the defendants from transmitting the plaintiff’s content. Also, the court directed the impleaded Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block defendant websites.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates 

  • The plaintiff’s counsel pointed out that concerned websites are rogue websites. They are liable for copyright infringement under Section 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957. Hence, they cannot claim exemptions under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  • The defendant websites contain directories or indexes to facilitate copyright infringement.
  • Despite the receipt of legal notices, the defendant websites have not complied with the requests to take down the infringing content.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The bench believed that the plaintiff is entitled to a decree under Order XIII-A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
  • The government should block access to the defendant websites and issue notifications in this regard.

Final Decision

  •  The court decreed the suit in the favour of prayers submitted by the plaintiff.
  • The court disposed of the suit and pending applications.