17 April 2019Copyright

Indian court issues ‘dynamic injunction’ against pirate mirror sites

The High Court of Delhi has asserted its right to issue so-called “dynamic injunctions” aimed at tackling mirrors, or redirect sites, of known pirate websites and recommended fines be levied on users who know they are accessing infringing content.

Plaintiffs will now be able to approach the court registrar to request the extension of existing injunctions against these mirror sites.

In a  ruling issued last Wednesday, April 10, the high court ordered the takedown of mirror sites linking to pirate websites that were the subject of a legal action brought by media conglomerate UTV Software Communications.

The high court noted that no formal procedure for dynamic injunctions against mirror sites existed in Indian law. It held that its decision was justified, however, as “these websites merely provide access to the same websites which are the subject of the main injunction”.

UTV, a subsidiary of Walt Disney, brought the case against several pirate sites that it said infringed its copyright.

The court had previously issued an injunction against the named websites, but in last week’s ruling noted the emergence of “hydra headed” websites that had been created to circumvent the injunction.

“It is desirable that the court is freed from constantly monitoring and adjudicating the issue of mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites and also that the plaintiffs are not burdened with filing fresh suits,” the Delhi court said.

The court cited the 2018 case Disney Enterprise v Ml, heard by the High Court of Singapore, in which the court “held that the applicant was not obligated to return to court for an order with respect to every single IP address of the infringing URLs”.

In the order, the court also recommended that warnings be issued to the consumers on infringing content.

The court directed India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to “explore the possibility of framing a policy under which a warning is issued to the viewers of the infringing content”.

The warnings would come, “if technologically feasible”, in the form of e-mails and pop-ups.

“In the event the warning is not heeded to and the viewers / subscribers continue to view, access or download the infringing/pirated content, then a fine could be levied on the viewers/subscribers,” the court suggested.

This story was first published on TBO.

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