Injunction Imposed: Delhi High Court Halts Rogue Websites’ Infringement

Injunction Imposed: Delhi High Court Halts Rogue Websites' InfringementIn Network18media and Investments Limited & Ors. vs & Ors., a suit was filed by Network18 Media & Investments Limited (“Plaintiff No. 1”) before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court (“DHC”) seeking, inter alia, permanent injunction over the infringement of their Intellectual Property Rights (“IPRs”), including (i) Copyright in cinematograph film (i.e., the video of an interview between Mr. Anand Narsimhan (“Plaintiff No. 6”) and Mr. Anant Ambani), (ii) trademarks; and (iii) personality rights. The suit claimed that the aforesaid rights of the Plaintiff were being violated by several rogue websites, i.e., Defendant Nos. 1 to 8 in conjunction with Defendant Nos. 9 and 10.

The single-judge bench restricted Defendant Nos. 1 to 8 from (i) infringing the registered marks and copyright of Plaintiff Nos. 1 and 2; (ii) passing off the registered trademark of Plaintiff Nos. 1 and 2; and (iii) violating the personality rights of Plaintiff No. 6. Since the suit is presently ongoing, the counsel for the Plaintiffs submitted an instant application seeking protection of personality rights of Plaintiff No. 3, 4 and 5. However, the counsel, at this stage, confined the interim relief in relation to the personality rights of only Plaintiff No. 6.


Plaintiff No. 1 is a media and entertainment (M&E) conglomerate with a diversified portfolio. The Plaintiff No. 2 (TV18 Broadcast Limited) is a subsidiary of the Plaintiff No. 1 and is engaged in the business of news broadcasting. Plaintiff No. 6 is a senior anchor at CNN-News18, in addition to being its Managing Editor (Special Projects).

The Plaintiffs submitted that, through their YouTube channel, an interview was shared with the public featuring Mr. Anant Mukesh Ambani (Director of Reliance Industries Ltd.) with the Plaintiff No. 6. With respect to the interview, the Plaintiff No. 2 claimed that it had the exclusive right to utilise and communicate the interview/ photographs from the cinematograph film to the public.

The Plaintiffs alleged that the rogue websites, identified as Defendant Nos. 1 to 8, misrepresented the contents of the interview and published a false article. The impugned article redirected the users to a cryptocurrency trading platform, Everix Edge (Defendant No. 9). It was further alleged that the impugned article claims that Mr. Ambani endorsed Everix Edge and stated that users could earn up to a 4,000% return on their investment through the said platform. It also falsely claimed to have been published by the BBC to make it seem authentic and credible. Additionally, it was alleged by the Plaintiffs that Defendant Nos. 1 to 8 violated their IPRs by infringing and passing off the Plaintiffs’ trademarks and specifically infringing Plaintiff No. 2’s copyright.

Plaintiff No. 2 asserted its right to create copies of the cinematograph film and associated photos (under Section 14(d)(i) of the Copyright Act, 1957) and claimed exclusive rights to the interview. It was further claimed that by adopting marks that were deceptively similar to the TV18 marks, the Defendants passed off their registered trademarks. Furthermore, the fabricated article violated Mr. Anand Narsimhan’s personality rights by utilising his likeness and pictures without permission. The Plaintiffs also submitted that Defendant No. 1 to 8’s websites have also been shared as “posts” uploaded by the users of Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter), identified as Defendant Nos. 11 and 12.

Decision By the Court

In light of the submissions made by the Plaintiffs, DHC observed that the Plaintiffs had established a prima facie case of infringement of their IPRs. It was held that the misleading article also infringed Mr. Anand Narsimhan’s personality rights, in addition to violating the Plaintiffs’ trademarks.

Accordingly, the DHC directed the owners of Defendants No. 1 to 8 to restrain from infringing the Plaintiffs’ trademarks and copyright and to restrain from violating the personality rights of Plaintiff No. 6. To aid additional investigation, the domain name Registrars (identified as Defendant Nos. 13 to 18) were directed to prohibit access to the infringing websites and submit the KYC details of the registrants of such domain names.

It was further stated that if the Plaintiffs discover any rogue websites containing such impugned articles, they must notify Defendant Nos. 13 to 17, who, in compliance with the law, will immediately block or remove the same. Provided the Defendants determine that the websites do not contain any content identical to the impugned article, they will notify the Plaintiff, who will subsequently get the appropriate orders from the court.

Further, Defendant Nos. 11 and 12 (i.e., Meta Platforms Inc. and X Corp.) were directed to remove posts in relation to the infringing publication and submit user details. The DHC also directed the Department of Telecommunications and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to issue necessary directions to the telecom and internet service providers to block the said websites.

Authors: Manisha Singh and Amritaa Priyodarshini

First Published by: Lexology here