Madras HC directs Google and YouTube to provide User Details in Defamation Suit.

Google and its subsidiary YouTube were caught in a crossfire in India when Lebara Foundation a non-profit philanthropic institution supporting communities to address the welfare of vulnerable and displaced children, filed a defamation suit over an allegedly defamatory video posted by an uploader named Marupakkam Seithigal on YouTube. A Single bench (Justice MM Sundresh,) of the Madras High Court allowed Lebara’s applications seeking the IP address of those responsible for uploading a ‘defamatory’ video. The court said “If a person is aggrieved by the offending video uploaded by an unknown phantom, then the identity will have to be made know or else there will not be any remedy in the eye of the law.

 YouTube was definitely not happy with the court’s order and was not willing to oblige it’s orders.Google and YouTube are hesitant to reveal the uploader’s IP address as this may bring forth  privacy law suits from the concerned user. This view is also shared by online activists of Tamil Nadu, who claim that their anonymity will be exposed. YouTube contended that furnishing the user details would go against the YouTube and Google privacy and community guidelines.

YouTube and Google then appealed the decision, before a division bench. The court dismissed the  appeal and directed them to disclose the IP address and other details of the uploader of the content that is defamatory to Lebara.

The court dismissed YouTube’s contention regarding it’s privacy policy by quoting Google’s own provisions which states “We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google if we have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to: meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations, detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues ….”

After considering the lengthy arguments and contentions The High Court held, “The learned Single Judge has noticed, and in our view rightly so, that it is not some secret information affecting such personal rights of the undisclosed author of Marupakkam Seithigal which are sought to be made available in pursuance of the directions of the Court, but only the identity and address so that the Court can take appropriate process to determine the rights of the Lebara Foundation which filed the defamation suit and the author of Marupakkam Seithigal. The minimal assistance required for mitigating a civil wrong of Marupakkam is furnishing the information.”

Source :1
Authored By- Srividya Viswanathan
Image is in Public Domain.

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