WEBSITE BLOCKING ORDERS

Online piracy has always been a point of trouble for rights holders throughout the world.

The Delhi High Court in its judgement in UTV Software Communication Ltd. And Ors Vs 1337x.To And Ors dated April 10, 2019 made a significant contribution to the jurisprudence of website blocking orders in India, especially by introducing a new remedy of a 'dynamic injunction', wherein the rights-holders do not need to go through the long and tiresome process of a judicial order in order to issue blocking orders to ISPs for each and every variation of infringing links. Instead, as per this judgment, the rights holders or the Plaintiffs have been allowed to approach the Joint Registrar of the Delhi High Court directly to extend an injunction order already granted against a website, against a similar 'mirror/redirect/alphanumeric' website which contains the same content as the original website.

The Hon'ble Court further considered the concept of "Rogue Websites', the court explained that these are the websites which share the infringing content primarily or principally. The court observed that these are the websites that provide free content to watch and are predominantly unknown or have masked their contact information if any.

The Hon'ble Delhi High Court relied on the Hon'ble Singapore High Court's decision in Disney Enterprise v. Ml Ltd., (2018) SGHC 206), wherein the concept of a dynamic injunction was formulated for the very first time. In the abovementioned case, the Hon'ble Singapore High Court observed that the Plaintiff could file an affidavit on record stating the reasons how the new website falls under the purview of the existing blocking order.

This judgment can be seen as a significant step towards curbing the issue of online piracy, the judgment offers the Plaintiffs with various ways to tackle the issue of "hydra headed" multiple infringing websites containing the same content. The court through the present judgment has provided the Plaintiff with the opportunity to update the list of blocked/ infringing websites by the prior permission of the Joint Registrar.

This judgment provides us a very practical and approachable solution as one of the major issues being faced in online piracy was the ability of the pirated websites to produce mirror websites within no time.