UTV Software Communication Ltd. v. 1337X.To and Ors.

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Permanent injunction against websites involved in unauthorised uploading of movies

UTV Software Communication Ltd. v. 1337X.To and Ors.
In the High Court of Delhi
CS (Comm) 724/2017
Before Justice Manmohan
Decided on April 10, 2019

Relevancy of the case: Permanent injunction against websites involved in unauthorised uploading of movies

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Copyright Act, 1957 (Section 2(f), 14, 17(c), 51, 51(a), 52, 97A)
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 2(1)w, 69A, 79)
  • The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (Section 65B)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The plaintiffs are companies engaged in the business of both creating content and producing/distributing cinematographic films. They operate around the world, including India.
  • The defendants are the websites that indulge in unauthorised uploading and using the plaintiff’s content. This aims to generate revenue through advertisements, thus infringing their copyright.
  • The plaintiffs sought an injunction restraining the defendants from infringing the plaintiff’s copyrighted works in cinematograph films. 
  • The court heard the matter ex-parte, with only the plaintiffs present, since the summoned contesting defendants failed to appear.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates 

  • The petitioner’s counsel argued that the substantial purpose of the defendant’s websites is to infringe or facilitate the infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright.
  • The amicus curiae cautioned that one must exercise caution because a website could potentially contain infringing content from the plaintiff and legitimate content from third parties. Moreover, the onus was on the plaintiff to produce such evidence before the court, which confirmed that the website complained of was only operating for sharing/downloading infringing/ pirated content.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The defendant made the publication on their website without either any license or authorisation. Thus, it amounts to copyright infringement under Section 51(a)(i) of the Copyright Act, 1957.
  • The right holders must satisfy the court by proving that each website they seek to block is not only a ‘rogue website’ but also primarily involved in facilitating widespread copyright infringement.
  • The DoT and MeITY should frame a policy to issue warnings to the consumers watching infringing content.

Final Decision

  • The court granted a permanent injunction in favour of the plaintiff, along with awarding the cost of the litigation.
  • A decree was passed directing the ISPs to block the defendant’s websites.
  • The court also directed DoT and MEITY to block access to identifiable websites that are unauthorizedly publishing and communicating the plaintiff’s copyrighted works.

Anjini Pandey, an undergraduate student at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, and Satvik Mishra, an undergraduate student at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, prepared this case summary during their internship with The Cyber Blog India in May/June 2022.