The Delhi High Court vide its order dated 23.06.2014 in Multi Screen Media Pvt Ltd versus Sunit Singh and Ors., granted an ex-parteinjunction to Multi-Screen Media Pvt. Ltd. (“MSM”) against 219 websites which were either infringing or were likely to infringe its exclusive broadcasting rights in the FIFA World Cup 2014.
Pursuant to a Licensing Agreement dated 14.01.2014 with FIFA, MSM Satellite (Singapore) won the broadcasting rights in Television, Radio, Mobile Transmission and Broadband Internet Transmission. In India, this set of exclusive rights is protected under Section 37 of the Copyright Act, 1957; the infringement of which will entitle the broadcaster to bring a civil action against the pirates. The Learned Counsel for the Plaintiff produced a list of more than 400 websites and argued that each of these websites illegally broadcast, rebroadcast, retransmit, host, stream, exhibit, make available for viewing and download, provide access to and communicate to the public, the broadcast of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Matches and are thereby causing major financial loss to the Plaintiff who had invested a huge amount to secure the aforementioned rights.
The Learned Counsel for the Plaintiff argued that it was nearly impossible to identify, locate, or gather all the relevant details of all the Defendants and that a John Doe injunction against all the listed website (and its owners) was urgently required to stop them from further damaging the Plaintiff’s broadcasting and other allied rights. Accepting the Plaintiff’s arguments, Hon'ble Justice V. Kameswar Rao passed an order against 219 Defendants restraining them from in any manner “hosting, streaming, broadcasting, rebroadcasting, retransmitting, exhibiting, making available for viewing and downloading, providing access to and / or communicating to the public, displaying, uploading, modifying, publishing, updating and/or sharing through the internet” in any manner whatsoever, the broadcast of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Matches and the content related thereto, amounting to unfair competition and commercial misappropriation of the Plaintiff’s rights.