New Delhi, June 30 – The Delhi High Court has restrained 39 ‘rogue websites’ from livestreaming the upcoming India-England international cricket series 2022 by infringing the copyrights of Culver Max Entertainment (former Sony Pictures Networks India).
“Defendants No. 1 to 39 are restrained from, in any manner, hosting, streamlining, reproducing, distributing, making available to the public and/or communicating to the public or facilitating the same on their websites through the internet in any manner whatsoever, any cinematograph work, content, programme and show or event in which the Plaintiff has copyright,” Justice Sanjeev Narula said in an order dated June 29.
The court also allowed the requests of plaintiffs seeking the appointment of a Local Commissioner to check the illegal broadcast and directed the official to make a sample recording of illegal transmission, if he finds it.
Apart from the illegal websites, the court also restrained a group of Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) –Direct to Home (DTH) operators for cable TV services–from illegally hosting, broadcasting, distributing or making available the matches to the public.
Plaintiff said it is owning “SONY TEN Network” of channels and has acquired an exclusive license from England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to broadcast the sporting event to the public in the territories of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and the Maldives.
It was pleaded that the present suit is initiated against websites, Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), Multi System Operators (MSO), Local Cable Operators (LCO) who are habitual defaulters and have in the past also infringed the plaintiff’s exclusive rights for the broadcast of such matches.
The Internet Service Providers (ISP) and Statutory government bodies have been impleaded as proforma parties for the purpose of implementing the order of this court against the infringing parties.
After the submissions, the court noted that plaintiff has exclusive media rights from the ECB and a prima facie case is made out in favour of the plaintiff to grant protection against the illegal transmission, broadcasting, communication, telecast and unauthorised distribution of any event, match, footage, clip, audio-video, audio only of the Sporting Event scheduled to be held from July 1 to July 17.
The matter will be further heard on November 4.