Warner Bros. dries up the Doodstream.com!

In the present case, the Plaintiff, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. alleged that the Defendants, Doodstream.com & Ors. created a platform that allowed users to create dashboards and upload infringing content belonging to the Plaintiff. Doodstream.com acts as a server for the storage and dissemination of such illegal content and incentivizes the users through the “pay per view” basis.

However, by an order dated 18th March 2024, the Delhi High Court had instructed Doodstream.com, to takedown such infringing content and comply with additional conditions but it failed to do so. Hence, the present application.

Warner Bros. alleged that Doodstream.com had failed to take down around 10 lakh links of infringing content and refused to disable other links such as “download link”, “embed link” and “embed code”. Doodstream.com continued to store unfiltered content including pornographic content and perpetuated the access despite takedowns.

Doodstream.com refuted such claims and stated that the links were taken down in compliance with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). It further claimed that it had taken steps to introduce a filter in the system to restrict the upload of infringing content, and removing the “download link”, “embed link” and “embed code” tabs would make the website bare and inept. Additionally, Doodstream.com contended that since it was hosting the platform in United States of America, Warner Bros. had no reason to approach this Court.

The Court considered the submissions of both parties and stated that the amount of infringing content available with Doodstream.com was very high. The current architecture of the website not only allowed the users/uploaders to use and disseminate content on Doodstream.com’s website but also incentivized them on pay-per-view basis.

Further, with respect to Doodstreams.com’s jurisdiction plea, the Court stated that, in India, DMCA is not applicable. The requirements of Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) and Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“2021 Rules”) shall be complied with. As Doodstream.com stored, transmitted, and shared information that is obscene, infringes intellectual property, and failed to have a proper redressal system in place, the defence of due diligence as stipulated under Section 79 of the IT Act would also not come to the rescue of the Defendants.

The Court took cognizance of the issue of piracy and restrained the Defendants from operating the website Doodstream.com and any other similar platform to provide access to content infringing upon Warner Bros.’ proprietary rights. The Court directed the Defendants to take steps and rectify the architecture of its website to make it in compliance with applicable laws. The matter is listed for hearing on 18th September, 2024.

 

Citation: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. & Ors vs Doodstream.com & Ors., Delhi High Court, 13th May, 2024, CS(COMM) 234/2024, I.A. 6317/2024 & I.A. 6322/2024

 

Authored by Ms. Ilana Baruah, Consulting & Strategy Team, BananaIP Counsels

Reviewed and Confirmed by Ms. Kavya Sadashivan, Consulting & Strategy Team, BananaIP Counsels

 

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