Homepage > Lawsuits > Applications and sites >
India’s largest newspaper publishing group has filed a complaint with the Delhi High Court against dozens of defendants who allegedly illegally offered its copyrighted publications through WhatsApp. The full case will be heard next year, but in the meantime, WhatsApp is required to remove or block the offending groups.
Sharing copyrighted content online is certainly nothing new, but over the years the sharing mechanisms have expanded to incorporate new methods of distribution.
Where once peer-to-peer services were the obvious choice, nowadays people also use platforms such as WhatsApp, Discord, and Facebook, which add social elements to the sharing experience by bringing together people who share their experiences. same ideas, often around a central topic.
This turns out to be a problem at DB Corp Ltd, the largest newspaper publishing group in India. The company publishes five newspapers with 61 editions, but when people illegally share its digital content online, its ability to generate income is threatened, according to the publisher.
Legal action targeting WhatsApp and hackers
According to DB Corp, part of the problem can be found on WhatsApp where dedicated groups share their newspapers and magazines without permission. As a result, the company filed for an injunction that would prevent WhatsApp and more than 80 other defendants from infringing on its rights through the platform.
DB Corp offers its content through its official websites where a subscription model is deployed to generate revenue. The subscription allows users to browse the publications in a browser, but there is no option to permanently download the newspapers and magazines for offline reading.
WhatsApp is the lead defendant in the claim while Defendants 3-88 are people who have formed groups on WhatsApp for the purpose of sharing DB Corp’s copyrighted works. The company says it was successful in locating the administrators of these groups using their phone numbers, but admits that there could be “many other groups” involved in the same illegal sharing. At this point, however, they remain unknown.
On August 30, 2021, DB Corp notified WhatsApp of the “offending groups” and requested their removal. WhatsApp declined the request and informed DB Corp that it would only act in response to a court order.
Court is satisfied that the evidence supports an injunction
After providing the Delhi High Court with screenshots of the messages exchanged within the groups, the court found that these indicated the illegal sharing of the copyrighted content of DB Corp.
“Thus, the applicant has established a At first glance the matter and the balance of convenience is also in favor of the plaintiff. In addition, irreparable loss would be caused, in the event that a ex-parte the injunction order is not granted – preventing the offending defendants from circulating and distributing the plaintiff’s electronic newspaper illegally, ”says Judge Sanjeev Narula’s order.
With that, the judge issued an order requiring WhatsApp to remove or block WhatsApp groups identified by DB Corp to prevent them from illegally distributing the company’s copyrighted works. WhatsApp has had seven days to comply.
The defendants’ written statements are due in 30 days and the injunction will remain in effect until the case is heard. He is currently registered for May 2, 2022.
The order can be found here (pdf)