The Delhi High Court has ordered the blocking of some rogue websites engaging in online piracy by broadcasting cricket matches, which were broadcast by them without permission.
Considering that the Indian Premier League (IPL) / TATA IPL 2022 series begins on March 26, the High Court said there was an urgent need to protect the investment of plaintiffs Star India Pvt Ltd and others and also to ensure that these rogue websites do not illegally broadcast TATA IPL 2022 cricket matches.
The court is also prima facie satisfied that the injunction is worth granting against any other website that might suddenly appear, display pirated content or start streaming TATA IPL 2022 illegally and without permission, Judge Prathiba M Singh said. in an order dated March 11.
The High Court has ordered several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block websites — “http://live.flixhub.net”nlive.flixhub.net; “http:titichsports.com”nstitichsports.com; “http://vipleague.im”nvipleague.im; maxsport.one, but.top; “http://t20wc.nl”nt20wc.nl; “http://vipstand.se”nvipstand.se and stream.btolat.online and also requested the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to issue orders for the blocking of these websites.
He said that as other websites that carry the content of TATA IPL 2022 matches emerge illegally and without permission, an affidavit in this regard can be filed by plaintiffs in court with evidence.
Said websites will also be blocked with immediate effect, upon notification to ISPs that such an affidavit has already been filed in this court. As soon as the DoT and MEITY receive notices and communications from the plaintiff that the affidavits have been filed in court, orders blocking these other rogue websites must be passed, immediately and in any event, within 24 hours, so that the websites do not continue to carry TATA IPL 2022 content in any way, the court heard.
The court issued the interim order while hearing an action brought by Star India Pvt Ltd seeking a permanent injunction restraining the infringement of their broadcasting rights and for restitution of accounts and damages.
Plaintiffs stated in the lawsuit that they had acquired exclusive media rights which include mobile activation rights and certain ancillary rights for IPL matches for a period of 5 years from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2022.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer argued that the rogue websites usually broadcast pirated content without any license or permission and showed some screenshots of footage from previous cricket matches including West India Tour of India 2022 and Sri Lanka Tour of India 2022, broadcast without permission.
He argued that these screenshots would show that the defendant websites violate the plaintiffs’ proprietary rights and engage in gross infringement and piracy.
The lawyer argued that the telecast on these websites is usually started while the match is in progress and by the time action can be taken and the websites are taken down, the match itself is over.
It was submitted in the lawsuit that huge loss is caused to the plaintiffs due to illegal broadcasting of cricket events in which they own exclusive rights and how rogue websites emerge spontaneously during the duration of any series , a command deserves to be adopted in such a way that it would extend to these new rogue websites on an immediate/”as and when” basis.
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