Summary of Indian Copyright, Entertainment Law Cases and Rules of 2019

High Court Cases

Delhi HC: Website Cannot Use TOI and ET Content

Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited & Anr. Vs. Mr. Ajay Kumar & Ors., CS(COMM) 21/2019

Decided on: 01.05.2019
Court: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has passed an order restraining the owners of the website from using content from the ‘Times of India’(TOI) and the ‘Economic Times’(ET) on their website. This order requires the website owners to stop using, advertising, promoting, and making available for download any content from the TOI and ET newspapers.
The court passed this order in a suit alleging trademark infringement, copyright infringement and unfair competition, filed by Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), which owns TOI and ET.  BCCL had filed the suit against the sscias website for providing electronic copies of the two leading newspapers before 6 am, which affected the papers’ readership, circulation and advertising revenues.
Link to court order:

Delhi High Court Directs YouTube to Take Down Video Defaming Patanjali

Patanjali Ayurved Limited & Anr. Vs. Google LLC. & ORS., CS (OS) 104/2019 & I.A. 2577/2019

Decided on: 19.02.2019 & 21.02.2019
Court: Delhi High Court
In a suit filed by Patanjali Ayurved Limited and Baba Ramdev, the Delhi High Court has directed YouTube to take down a video which allegedly defamed Patanjali products from YouTube. Patanjali and Baba Ramdev had sought a permanent injunction against the video, alleging that it contained several defamatory, disparaging and threatening statements against Patanjali Products. They also sought an injunction against Google, YouTube and Facebook to take down the video and all links to the video for both Indian and international domains.  Besides directing YouTube to take down the video, the court also directed Facebook to ensure that links to the video are no longer available on its platform. The court also observed that the video not only violated the law due to its explicit and derogatory language, but also violated the self-prescribed guidelines of these platforms. This follows an earlier order by the court directing the removal of the video from the Indian domains of these platforms. The court also directed YouTube to provide available information of the person uploading the video, to enable Patanjali to take further action.
Link to court order:

Madras HC Asks Centre to Issue Ban on TikTok App

S. Muthukumar vs. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Ors., W.P.(MD)No.7855 of 2019

Decided on: 03.04.2019
Court: Madras High Court
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court recently issued an interim direction to the central government, to prohibit downloading of the TikTok Application on account of pornography and inappropriate content being made available on the platform. The court also sought to prohibit media from displaying TikTok videos as it may showcase disturbing content that degrades Indian culture. The order also states that, “Observing that governments of Indonesia and Bangladesh have already banned TikTok and USA has passed ‘Children Online Privacy Act’ to prevent children from becoming cyber victims, a similar act is necessary in India too.” Taking example of the viral Blue Whale challenge as well as the subsequent suicide of a 17-year-old in Mumbai, the court has urged the centre to take matters involving young persons in a more serious light. The order has also urged the government to answer, “whether the Union of India will enact a statute, like Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, enacted by the United States, to prevent the children from becoming cyber/online victims.”

Delhi High Court Restrains 30 Torrent Sites from Uploading Copyright Content

UTV Software Communication Ltd. and Ors. vs. 1337X to and Ors., MANU/DE/1244/2019

Decided on: 10.04.2019
Court: Delhi High Court
Based on a plea filed by renowned production companies, Twentieth Century Fox and UTV Software, the Delhi High Court has permanently restrained 30 torrent sites from hosting, streaming, distributing or making available any content which violates their copyright. Fox and UTV had filed a suit for banning the torrent websites such as RARBG, YTS, ExtraTorrent, Pirate Bay and others from streaming pirated versions of their original copyright content. The court has also directed internet service providers (ISPs), like Airtel, Reliance Jio and MTNL, to block access to these websites.
The court issued directions to the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy) to ensure that the ISPs registered with them block access to such “rogue websites”. The Court observed that majority of the viewers who access and download such content are youngsters who are unaware that the content is pirated. With this in mind, the court has directed DOT and MEITY to create a policy cautioning the viewers about the nature of the content before the content is viewed or downloaded. The court suggested that in the event the viewer continues to access content after the warning, then a fine may be levied.
This decision is also important because of the court’s directions with respect to websites which mirror the content of the blocked websites or act as means to access the content of these blocked websites. The court has allowed copyright holders to obtain an order to block these websites from the Joint Registrar instead of having to schedule a separate hearing before a judge, which is expected to make it easier to have such sites blocked immediately when they appear.
Link to court order:

Madras High Court Lifts Ban on TikTok App

S. MuthuKumar vs. TRAI and Ors., W.P.(MD)No.7855 of 2019

Decided on: 24.04.2019
Court: Madras High Court
On April 24, 2019, the Madras High Court lifted a ban it had earlier imposed on the
popular short-video app TikTok. The amicus curiae appointed by the court stated that that
TikTok was an intermediary and was protected by the Indian Information Technology Act’s intermediary guidelines. This decision follows a direction from the Supreme Court of India to make a final determination on the ban. The interim ban had resulted in the Central Government ordering the Google Play Store and Apple App Store to remove the app from its offerings. The ban, which had been imposed due to concerns of child pornography and cyberbullying, did not affect users who had already downloaded the app on their devices. TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, has stated its continued commitment to making the app safer, and has reportedly removed over 6 million harmful videos and introduced an age-gate which only allows users over the age of 13.
Link to court order:

Bombay HC Denies Statutory License to Wynk for Tips’ Songs

Tips Industries Ltd. vs. Wynk Music Ltd. and Ors., MANU/MH/0862/2019

Decided on: 23.04.2019
Court: Bombay High Court
Indian music streaming service Wynk, which is owned and operated by Airtel, was recently slapped with an injunction, and was asked to remove all content from its servers, which belonged to record label, Tips Industries Limited, after the two parties were unable to agree to a license re-negotiation. Wynk attempted to invoke the statutory licensing provision under Section 31-D of the Copyright Act, which is available to broadcasters, to require the licensing of any work which is being withheld from the public by the owner of the copyright. The High Court rejected this argument, and held that the statutory license rights would be available to only radio and television broadcasters, as the text of the provision suggested. Wynk’s continued use of songs owned by Tips Industries would amount to copyright infringement of Tips’ exclusive rights to sell and commercially rent copies of their songs.
This case may impact the ongoing dispute between Spotify and Warner Group, in which Spotify has sought a similar statutory license to broadcast works owned by Warner.
Link to court order:

Delhi HC Dismisses ShareChat Suit Against Bytedance

Mohalla Tech Pvt. Ltd, v Bytedance Inc. and Ors., CS(COMM) 1200/2018

Decided on: 17.05.2019
Court: Delhi High Court
Indic-language social network ShareChat, recently filed a lawsuit against Bytedance, which was dismissed by the Delhi HC. Sharechat filed this lawsuit against the Chinese social media platform for copying ShareChat’s design and infringing copyright, thereby creating unfair competition. Bytedance had changed the name of its platform Helo, to ‘Share, Follow & Chat’ on the Google Play store, which continued only for a brief period, following which Bytedance was compelled to change its design and user interface due to the lawsuit filed by ShareChat.
ShareChat has alleged that since Helo launched in India, it has been touted as a copycat of ShareChat as both the apps used to have identical categories like Ladies’ Corner, Lifestyle, Jokes, WhatsApp Status, Love Bytes, Wishes, Quotes, and others.
Link to court order:

Delhi HC: Architect Cannot Prevent Demolition of His Work

Raj Rewal vs Union Of India & Ors., CS(COMM) 3/2018, IA No.90/2018 & IA No.92/2018

Decided on: 28.05.2019
Court: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has recently held that an architect of a building/structure has no right under Section 57 of the Copyright Act to object to the demolition of his/ her work or to claim any damages for such demolition. The suit was filed by acclaimed architect Raj Rewal, against the Indian Trade Promotion Council (ITPO), which had stated its intent to demolish certain buildings for the restructuring of Pragati Maidaan in New Delhi. The Plaintiff sought an injunction for the defendants to recreate the work of architecture in the demolished buildings in an equally prominent location.
The court contrasted the moral rights of the author and the property rights of the land owner, and concluded that the requirements of urban planning outweigh the moral rights of an architect. The court interpreted the extent of moral rights as limited to actions that make the work “look, appear, be seen, as something different from what the author had created”, and thus affect the honour and reputation of the Architect. The court limited the scope of Section 57, stating that a failure to display the work is not an infringement of the architect’s special rights. What cannot be viewed, seen, heard or felt, cannot be imperfect and cannot affect the honour or reputation of the author.
Link to court order:

Madras HC Prohibits Unauthorised Use of Ilaiyaraja’s Songs

M/s. Agi Music Sdn Bhd vs. Ilaiyaraja & M/s. Modern Cinema, S.No.308 of 2013 and C.S.No.625 of 2014

Decided on: 04.06.2019
Court: Madras High Court
On 4th June, 2019, the Madras Hight Court passed an order prohibiting the monetization of legendary composer Ilaiyaraja’s songs without his permission. Ilaiyaraja had filed a suit in 2014, alleging copyright infringement by music recording companies like Agi Music, Echo Recording, and others. In his suit, he claimed that he had composed songs for over 1000 movies, which were being used and monetized without his permission, thereby infringing on his exclusive rights to distribute, make derivative works of, and make other works incorporating his songs.
The order prohibits all unauthorized exploitation and monetization of his works, but allows films comprising songs by Ilaiyaraja to be screened in theatres. An interim order to the same effect was passed earlier, which has now been extended by the recent decision.
Link to court order:

Delhi HC Restrains Balaji from Using “Dhagala Lagli” Song

Saregama India Limited v. Balaji Motion Pictures Limited, CS(COMM) 492/2019

Decided on: 13.09.2019
Court: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has passed an order restraining Balaji Telefilms from using the famous Marathi song “Dhagali Lagli” in its recent release “Dream Girl”, starring Ayushman Khurana. The suit for copyright infringement and interim injunction was filed by Saregama India Ltd, which owns the rights in the song, against Balaji, Alt Digital Entertainment and Zee Telefilms. Although only two lines from the famous song were played towards the end of the film, the court held that this amounted to copyright infringement, and specifically noted that Balaji had not credited Saregama as the owner of the song.
The court also observed that such unauthorised use without providing attribution could result in irreparable loss, even if the right to receive a license fee at a later stage was protected. The court rejected Balaji’s arguments classifying the song as a “folk song”, and questioning Saregama’s copyright ownership. The court relied on the advertising adopted by Balaji, which referred to its version as a recreation of the iconic song. Balaji is yet to appeal the order.
Link to court order:

Google and Youtube Lose Copyright Infringement Battle

M/s Shree Krishna International and Ors. vs. Google India Pvt. Ltd. and Ors., CS/1358/2014

Decided on: 27.09.2019
Court: Gurgaon District Court
Suneel Darshan, proprietor of Shree Krishna International, a film production company, filed a permanent injunction suit against Google India and Youtube LLC in the Gurgaon District Court. The reputed film maker has produced many films including Andaaz, Barsaat, Dosti etc. The claim was that the streaming giant had infringed upon the sound recording, cinematograph films and audio-visual songs without the Plaintiff’s prior authorisation and further stated that the ‘unauthorized downloader’ and the defendants were sharing the ad revenue generated from this, causing monetary loss to the Plaintiff.
Although it was argued on behalf of the defendants that they were merely providing a platform for the exhibition of his work, and that they were not aware that copyright was infringed, however, owing to the monetary loss suffered by the Plaintiff, the Court ruled in favour of the Plaintiff.

Delhi HC Orders Facebook and Google to Remove MeToo Posts

Subodh Gupta vs. Herdsceneand & Ors., CS(OS) 483/2019

Decided on: 18.11.2019
Court: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has ordered social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Google, to take down the news links and other posts containing sexual harassment accusations against leading Indian contemporary artist, Subodh Gupta. Sexual harassment allegations against Subodh Gupta were posted on Instagram by an unnamed co-worker, and followed by a revelation of a series of such incidents by several other women.
In response, Subodh Gupta has filed a civil defamation case stating that the allegations were false and malicious and claimed damages from the operator of the anonymous account from which the posts were made. These posts were then re-published on Facebook and other online platforms which gave it more traction. The court found that these allegations were published without verifying their factual and legal validity. In its order, the court has annexed a list of 18 URLs of various news websites that carry this news and has specifically asked Google to delist/block such links from its database. Facebook has also initiated the takedown procedure of the posts from Instagram and also agreed to provide the court with details of the person/entity running the Instagram handle.
This case brings to light the subject of viewing web portals as ‘intermediaries’ as per Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which limits the liabilities of such entities and also focuses on the notice and take-down regime. Earlier, this regime required an intermediary to take down objectionable content from its website upon acquiring ‘actual knowledge’ from any affected person. However, since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Shreya Singhal case, ‘actual knowledge’ of an intermediary has been held to mean notice by a judicial or governmental order, specifically requiring the intermediary to disable such content.
Link to court order:

Bombay HC Provides Relief to IMPAA

Indian Motion Picture Producers Association vs. Union of India and Ors., OS. W.P. 2039-18

Decided on: 25.09.2019
Court: Bombay High Court
The High Court of Bombay recently passed an order in favour of the Indian Motion Pictures Association (IMPAA), allowing sub-titles to be added into a film even after the film is certified. In holding thus, the court dismissed a 2017 notice issued by the Central Board for Film Certification in India (CBFC) which stated that all the applicants must submit an undertaking along with the application clearly stating whether subtitles are included in the movie and no sub-titles will be added once the film is certified by CBFC.
This issue of post-certification subtitles arises frequently for film producers, as films are often exhibited in languages or regions other than the one in which the film is produced. According to the earlier notification of the CBFC, in order to include sub-titles in an already certified film, the producers would have had to present the film afresh to the CBFC, which could be time consuming and expensive for the producers. The recent order passed by the Bombay High Court is likely to come as a relief to such producers, who can now include sub-titles in films even after the CBFC certification and will not have to delay inter-regional releases for certification of the sub-titles.
Link to court order:

Telegu Remake of Band Baaja Baaraat Restricted from Being Released in Any Format

Yash Raj Films Pvt Ltd vs Sri Sai Ganesh Productions & Ors., CS(COMM) 1329/2016

Decided on: 08.07.2019
Court: Delhi High Court
Yash Raj Films originally released the movie ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ starring Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma in the year 2010. The makers of its Telugu version, Sri Sai Ganesh Productions, released the movie in 2013 after which the Delhi High Court passed an interim order restricting its release in any format. The Final order was passed recently whereby the Court restrained the Telugu film from being released in any format, including DVDs, VCDs, Blu-ray discs and television on account of blatantly copying the fundamental features as well as forms of the plaintiff’s film on purpose.
Link to Order:

Case Brief

YRF v Sri Sai Ganesh Productions

Yash Raj Films Pvt Ltd v. Sri Sai Ganesh Productions and Ors., CS (COMM) 1329/2016

Decided on: 08.07.2019
Court: Delhi High Court


This is a suit for copyright infringement of the movie Band Baja Baarat produced by Yash Raj Films Pvt. Ltd. by a Telegu movie named Jabardasth produced by Sri Sai Ganesh Productions. The Telegu film was made without taking permission or any rights from the original film’s producers. Yash Raj Films (the ‘plaintiff’) sued Sri Sai Ganesh Productions, the director and the distributor of the Telegu film (collectively referred as the ‘defendants’) which led to the decision of the Delhi High Court analysed hereunder.

Factual Background

Yash Raj Films (YRF), a renowned production house and the plaintiff in this matter, is the producer of the Bollywood film, Band Baja Baarat which was released on December 10, 2010 in India and other countries. The Plaintiff holds copyright in various original works in this film, including but not limited to the storyline, dialogues, theme, concept, plot, script, music, lyrics and character sketches. YRF even proclaimed through a public notice in May 2011 that it had not sold the copyrights of the film to any third party and was the sole owners of the same. Around December 2011, the Plaintiff came to know that Sri Sai Ganesh Productions, one of the defendants in this case, intended to remake the film in Telegu. The plaintiff sent two cease and desist notices to the defendants, one in January 2012 and the other in April 2012 but received no response. Subsequently, the defendants released a trailer, following the Plaintiff issued the Third Legal Notice requesting a copy of the Impugned Movie and the Script before the release of the Impugned Movie. The defendants did not respond to the third notice either, and instead released the film titled Jabardasth in February 2013. The defendants had also sold their rights to a Tamil production house for its remake, which was to be released in April 2013. The plaintiff filed a copyright infringement suit against the defendants for blatantly copying the plot, theme and character-sketch of their movie. On 6th March, 2013 the Court granted an ex-parte ad interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiff.  Defendant No. 3 acknowledged the plaintiff to be the owner of the copyright of the script, screenplay, dialogues and all other works which could be copyright of the Plaintiff’s Mov

Issues and Holdings

The High Court considered the following issues:1.     Can copyright subsist in a cinematograph film independent of the underlying works that it is comprised of? Held: Copyright in a cinematograph film exists independent of its underlying works, as each underlying work as well as the film itself are independent works. 2.     Can the expression ‘to make a copy of the film’ under Section 14 mean making physical copy of the film only? Is there substantial and material similarity between the two films? Held: The expression ‘to make a copy of the film’ under Section 14 is not just restricted to making physical copies. There is substantial and material similarity between the scenes and plot points in two films. 3.     Does the Delhi High Court have the jurisdiction to hear the present matter?  Held: The Delhi High Court has the necessary jurisdiction to hear and pass order in the present matter, as the film was released in New Delhi although no part of the preparation of the defendants’ film was made there.

Rule of Law

A cinematograph film is an original copyrightable work by itself independent of the underlying works and is subjected to the protection under Copyright Act, 1957.


The issues and the holdings that have been identified in this matter can be further analysed as under:
Analysis of Issue 1:The Court held that for the purpose of copyright law, a cinematograph film is seen in a wider perspective than just an assortment of its underlying works. The term “underlying works” here refers to the different kinds of creative and original works that go into making an entire cinematograph film. For instance, the script and dialogues come under literary works; the lyrics of the songs under musical works; the complete songs come within the purview of sound recordings; posters and advertisements as artistic works, etc. While each of these underlying works claim individual copyright protection under the Copyright Act, 1957, a cinematograph film as a whole is also entitled to be protected under the Act. Thus, reiterating its previous decision in MRF Limited v. Metro Tyres Limited, CS(COMM) 753/2017 (1st July 2019), the Court held that even though a cinematograph film may not be infringing any of the underlying works, the film as a whole may not be copyrightable for want of ‘originality’. The fact that a cinematograph film infringes on another film can be a valid reason for lack of ‘originality’ and thus will not be protected under the copyright law. The Court further added that even though the term ‘original’ is absent from the text of Section 13 (1) (b) of the Act which talks about copyright in cinematograph films, the requirement of “originality” can be clearly derived from Section 13 (3) (a) and 2 (d) of the said Act. It clarified the point that copyright shall not subsist in a cinematograph film if a substantial part of it is infringing the copyright of any other work [Para 14].

Analysis of Issue 2:

The Court further held that the expression “to make a copy of the film” under Section 14 (d) (i) of the Act is not restricted to making only physical copies of the film by the process of duplication. It also means copying the idea, expression and other intangible aspects of an existing cinematograph film and incorporating them in another film. To determine the originality of a film, the Court referred to the test laid down in the landmark case of R.G. Anand v. Deluxe Films, 4 SCC 118 (1978) wherein it was held that in such matters, the Court must compare “the substance, the foundation, the kernel” of the two films in question. It is imperative to understand whether an average viewer who is made to watch both the films would get the unmistakable impression that one is the copy of the other. In the present case, the Court found that the defendants, in their film Jabardasth, had blatantly copied the fundamental, essential and distinctive features of the plaintiff’s film, Band Baja Baarat [Para 15]. The defendant acknowledged the plaintiff to be the owner of the copyright in script, screenplay, dialogues and other works which could be copyrightable by the plaintiff. The Court admitted on record nineteen (19) exact similarities between the two films.

Analysis of Issue 3

The defendants had also argued that the entire process of making their film was in Hyderabad and no part of it was executed in Delhi and hence the Delhi High Court had no territorial jurisdiction in hearing or passing any order in this matter. However, the Honorable Court held that as the defendants’ film was released in Delhi along with the rest of the country, the Delhi High Court had the territorial jurisdiction over this matter [Para 17].


The Court held that a cinematograph film is essentially greater than just a conglomeration of its underlying works like literary, dramatic or musical works. Thus, copyright in a cinematograph film can subsist independent of its underlying works. Additionally, the Court also clarified that making a copy of a cinematograph film is not restricted to just making physical copies of the film but also includes copying the idea behind the film. The aspect of originality is latent in Section 13 of the Copyright Act, 1957. Justice Manmohan Singh, who heard this matter, established this as a case of copyright infringement and rightly passed a permanent injunction against the defendants, restraining them from infringing the copyrights of the plaintiff.
Link to court order:
Link to article:

Notifications, Regulations, Rules and Draft Bills

1.      Draft Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, 2018

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has published the draft Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, 2018. These rules are drafted under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and intended to replace the 2011 rules on Intermediaries. The ministry has invited comments and suggestion from all relevant stakeholders, which may be submitted till 15th January, 2019.
The draft rules, along with information on how to submit comments, can be found here:

2.      Draft of the National E-Commerce Policy

Department for Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has recently published the draft of the National E-Commerce Policy. The Draft Policy seeks to create a framework that will enable India to benefit from the rapid digitization of the domestic and international markets. The notification invites comments and suggestions from stakeholders, to be submitted before 9th March 2019.
The notice issued by the Ministry can be accessed here: and the draft policy can be accessed here:

3.      Draft of the Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2019

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DIPP) released the Draft Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2019 to the public for comments. According to the press release, the Rules are aimed at bringing compliance with the Copyright Act at par with other legislations, namely the Patents and Trademarks Acts as well as digitizing regulation.
The Draft Rules are open for comments till 29th June, 2019. The press release inviting comments, the method of submission and a link to the Rules may be accessed here:

4.      Draft Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2019

The Draft Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2019, were released by the Department of Consumer Affairs, under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, on November 11, 2019, for consultation. The Rules are identical to the E-Commerce Guidelines for Consumer Protection 2019, released by the Department on August 2. However, while the Guidelines were released under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the new Rules have been released under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
The Rules lay down liabilities for e-commerce entities as well as sellers and provide a consumer grievance redressal process. The Rules prohibit e-commerce entities from influencing prices of goods and services, adopting unfair or deceptive trade practices, leaving fake reviews as consumers, and misrepresenting or exaggerating the quality or the features of goods and services. The Rules place obligations on such entities to ensure that advertisements for marketing of goods and services are true and accurate, and state that entities shall be held guilty of contributory or secondary liability if it makes an assurance vouching for the authenticity of the goods sold on its marketplace.
The Rules are open for consultation from stakeholders till December 2, 2019.

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