Dynamic Injunction: A New Mechanism To Tackle Online Piracy

Recently the Delhi High Court, in UTV Software Communication Ltd. And Ors vs. 1337X.TO And Ors, (Order dt. 10.4.2019 CS(COMM) 724/2017), dealt with ‘Dynamic Injunctions’. With this decision, a plaintiff may directly approach the Joint Registrar of the Delhi High Court to extend an existing injunction against a website to similar ‘mirror/redirect/alphanumeric’ websites that  contain the same content as the already injuncted website.

The Hon’ble Court first considered ‘Rogue Websites.’ As per the Court, these are websites that “primarily or predominantly share infringing content”. The court stated that “the registrant details of these websites are unknown and any or all contact information is masked/blocked. These websites invite consumers for watching free movies/contents. Although some of these websites feebly claim to only provide links to third-party websites, and not host content on their servers, yet their entire module/interface is premised on allowing users to watch pirated releases/movies by way of links, and which account for all the content available on their sites”. Further, on the test of determining the ‘Rogue Website’ the court took help from the judgement of Eros International Media Ltd. & Anr. vs. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, (Order dt. 31.08.2018,C.S. No. 346/2018), and held that, “requiring the copyright owner to identify each infringing element would place too onerous a burden on copyright owners, particularly in instances where these websites can easily change a URL which has been taken down or blocked.”

The Hon’ble Court referred to the Singapore High Court’s decision in Disney Enterprise v. Ml Ltd., ((2018) SGHC 206), where, for the first time, the concept of a dynamic injunction was formulated.  In that case, the court held that a plaintiff could file an additional affidavit stating why a new website fell within the purview of an existing blocking order.  As per the Court, the Indian Code of Civil Procedure allows for dynamic injunctions.

With this judgement, the Delhi High Court has provided litigants an effective remedy to avoid engaging in multiple proceedings against the same offender.