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Recently, the Delhi High Court restrained forty rogue websites from hosting, streaming, reproducing, distributing, making available and/or communicating to the public, works in which leading global entertainment companies, such as Universal City Studios LLC, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Netflix Studios, LLC, etc. (“Plaintiffs”) hold exclusive rights.

As per the Plaintiffs, the defendant websites are engaged in online piracy by making available online, original content in which the Plaintiffs hold rights. These websites allow (a) viewing the content, (b) downloading the content to a device for watching later, and/or (c) identify other locations on the Internet which enables such activities. As per the Plaintiffs, the defendant websites are using “pirate branding” to signal that they are merely new iterations of websites that have been previously blocked, with the same functionality and purpose. Further, the details of owners of these websites are either incomplete or hidden by domain privacy services. The Plaintiffs submitted before the court that such acts of the defendant websites which allows communicating, copying and storing of the Plaintiffs’ works constitute infringement and ought to be restrained.

The court was of the opinion that the Plaintiffs have made out prima facie case against acts of the defendant websites. Accordingly, the court restrained the defendant websites, their mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites and other associated websites/parties from hosting, streaming, reproducing, distributing, making available/communicating to public, works in which the Plaintiffs hold rights. Further, Internet service providers were directed to block access to the URLs of these websites and the Department of Telecommunications and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology were directed to issue notices for immediate action against these websites. The Plaintiffs have also been allowed to add any additional websites engaged in similar activities as parties, during the pendency of the suit.

Universal City Studios LLC & Ors. v. FZMOVIES.NET & Ors., CS(COMM) 202/2023, Order dated April 11, 2023

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