1 June 2020CopyrightRory O'Neill

Delhi court orders Telegram to identify newspaper pirates

The  Delhi High Court has ordered instant messaging service  Telegram to hand over the identity of users sharing e-newspapers for free on the platform.

Telegram was founded in 2013 as an instant messaging service with a heightened focus on security and encryption. Its traditional refusal to hand over any information related to its users has led to it being banned or partially blocked in countries like Russia, and also  raised concerns about the platforming serving as a free haven for digital piracy.

The latest Delhi court order follows a complaint brought by the publishers of  Dainik Jagran, India’s largest Hindi-language daily paper.

According to the publishers, copies of its e-papers have been circulating on Telegram channels for free. Just over 19,000 people accessed the illegal edition on 18 May, the publishers said—several hundred more than subscribed to the official version.

Jagran’s Indian-based subscribers can access the e-paper for free during the COVID-19 pandemic, although the paper is charging a $1 fee for international subscribers.

The infringing channels allow all users to access Jagran’s entire e-paper archive for free, a service normally reserved for subscribers, the paper alleged.

Jagran contacted Telegram four times in April and May to demand that they identify the users behind the infringing channels, but received no reply, the complaint said.

The Delhi High Court has now ordered Telegram to disable the channels and hand over the identities of the users behind them.

It is another high-profile example of Telegram coming in for criticism from newspaper publishers for facilitating the pirating of its digital content.

Last September, it was reported that  Italian police were investigating Telegram over allegations that up to 500,000 people were accessing digital issues of L’Unione Sarda for free online.

Telegram’s  official policy, as stated on its website, is that it does not respond to takedown requests related to private messages: “All Telegram chats and group chats are private amongst their participants. We do not process any requests related to them.”

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories sent like this straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories

Ninth Circuit weighs in behind H&M on fabric copyright appeal

JTI fails to halt vaping trademark at UKIPO

Converse takes Steve Madden to court

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

7 August 2020   Defences of descriptiveness and acquiescence under infringement actions in India hold risks for both defendants and plaintiffs, as NV Saisunder of Eshwars reports.
16 February 2021   An Israeli court has ordered instant messaging service Telegram to block the distribution of copyrighted media on its platform, following a lawsuit from anti-piracy group ZIRA.
19 August 2021   Russia’s largest publishing group Eksmo-AST has filed two copyright infringement lawsuits against the instant messaging service Telegram, with the stated goal of completely blocking the service in Russia.