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Universal City Studios LLC. and Ors. V. DotMovies.Baby and Ors.

Recently, in a plea for restriction on dynamic generation of the contents owned by, as many as six (6) well-known Hollywood studios, namely, Universal City Studio LLC, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc, Netflix Studios, LLC, Paramount Pictures Corporation and Disney Enterprises, Inc. (‘Plaintiffs), the Delhi High Court has recently passed a one-of-a-kind dynamic+ injunction against 16 rogue websites impleaded as defendants including their redirect/ alphanumeric/mirror websites from streaming, reproducing, distributing to curb unauthorized reproduction of the copyrighted content which includes any future work of the Plaintiffs, as and when they are created.

It was the Plaintiffs’ case that the rapid increase of platforms, including the rogue websites impleaded as defendants, for unauthorised, unlicensed, and pirated content, resulting in continuous production and unauthorized reproduction, is leading to copyright infringement and monetary loss. Some of those websites were newer versions of rogue websites that have been injuncted in previous litigations. The court observed that the frequent and periodic appearance and duplication of rogue websites can occur rapidly, and mirror websites can emerge within minutes, as domain names can be modified with minor modifications, and content can be easily moved between websites and these rogue websites potentially infringe the copyrighted content and hurt the thriving content creation industry.

Given this patent illegalities of the rogue websites and apprehension of piracy of Plaintiffs’ future contents by the defendants, the court issued a “dynamic+ injunction” against the defendants. The court also directed (a) the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to issue blocking orders against the rogue websites; (b) Internet Service Providers to block such websites and; (c) Domain Name Registrars (DNRs) of the rogue websites’ domain names to lock and suspend the domain names and share KYC details of such registrants with the Plaintiff, upon intimation.

Universal City Studios LLC. and Ors. V. DotMovies.Baby and Ors. [CS(COMM) 514/2023 and IA 14120/2023, 14122/2023]

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