23 July 2021CopyrightRory O'Neill

Delhi court hands Sony a blocking order in Olympic anti-piracy fight

The Delhi High Court has granted Sony Pictures a pre-emptive blocking order aimed at cutting off access to pirate websites ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Sony is the exclusive broadcasting rights owner for the Olympics in India, which are due to be shown on its Sony Ten network of sports TV channels.

The broadcaster asked the court to grant an order preemptively blocking more than 40 websites it suspected of planning to broadcast the games illegally. The court’s resulting order also requires internet service providers (ISPs) to shut down so-called ‘mirror sites’, using different URLs, as and when they appear after the sites are taken down.

According to the court, if Sony was “not granted an injunction protecting its rights against the defendants, the plaintiff is likely to suffer an irreparable loss and injury, which cannot be compensated in terms of money”.

The sites are restrained from “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 plaintiffs have copyright”. The order remains in force until September 29, covering all content for which Sony holds the copyright.

Sports rights owners have become adept at using the courts to obtain expansive blocking orders to head off the threat of piracy in recent years. This includes so-called ‘dynamic injunctions’, which deal with mirror sites that arise after the original is taken down.

These types of orders have become more common across the world, including in Mexico where the first such injunction was issued in February 2019. Two months later, the Delhi High Court asserted its right to issue a dynamic injunction to address a “hydra-headed” network of pirate sites that had escaped its original blocking order in a case brought by Walt Disney.

In February this year, France’s legislature approved new laws allowing courts to issue dynamic injunctions, in a move that was welcomed by sports rights owners including BeIN Sports.

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More on this story

22 March 2021   Sports rights owners are hailing new laws in France which could give them the upper hand in their fight against online pirates.
5 August 2021   Athletes are barred from sharing unlicensed videos of the Olympic Games on social media platforms, the International Olympic Committee has reiterated.
2 November 2021   The Delhi High Court in India has extended its deadline for inviting opinions on proposed rules concerning its new IP division, in the wake of the dismantling of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.