'Copyright infringers cannot be permitted': Delhi HC seeks Telegram channels' details

'Copyright infringers cannot be permitted': Delhi HC seeks Telegram channels' details
Representative imageIANS
The Delhi High Court has directed Telegram to disclose, in a sealed cover, the details of the channels and devices used to disseminate alleged copyright infringing content, along with the mobile numbers, IP addresses, and email ids of such users.

Rejecting Telegram's argument that it cannot disclose user information as that would violate its privacy policy and the laws of the jurisdiction where its physical servers are located, a bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh, said even under the provisions of the IT Act, such as under Section 79(3)(b), Telegram has a duty to expeditiously remove or disable access to the unlawful material, without vitiating the evidence in any manner.

The court was dealing a suit of plaintiff Neetu Singh and K.D. Campus Pvt. Ltd seeking permanent injunction restraining infringement of copyright, damages and other relief in respect of unauthorised dissemination of the plaintiffs' videos, lecture, books, etc.

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In the 51-page order dated August 30, the court said Indian courts would be perfectly justified in directing Telegram, which runs its massive operations in India, to adhere to Indian law and orders passed by them for disclosure of relevant information relating to infringers.

It held that merely because of Telegram's argument that it chooses to locate its server in Singapore, the same cannot result remediless against the actual infringers.


".. If such an argument is accepted, in the current world where most dissemination happens through online messaging services and platforms, IP violations would go completely unchecked," the order averred.

"The provisions of the IT Act and the Rules made therein have to be construed harmoniously with the rights and remedies provided to the copyright owners under the Copyright Act. Indian courts are competent to decide issues relating to infringement of copyright and the mere fact that Telegram is operating a messaging service in India which chooses not to locate its servers in India cannot divest the Indian courts from dealing with copyright disputes or divest copyright owners from availing their remedies in Indian courts.

"In the present age of cloud computing and diminishing national boundaries in data storage, conventional concepts of territoriality cannot be strictly applied. The dynamic evolution of law is essential to ensure appropriate remedies in case of violation of copyright and other IP laws," the order read.