The Court has enjoined any unauthorised storing, reproducing, communicating, disseminating, distributing, duplicating, selling, offering for sale, or making available copies of the film on WhatsApp or any other platform, and has ordered a blanket ban on any kind of piracy of the film.
The movie's rights holder, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, filed a complaint with the High Court stating that many pirated versions of the film, as well as different video clips, were being circulated to the general public for illegal watching, download, and storage, and that as the only licensee and holder of different rights in the picture, its interests had been seriously harmed as a result of such piracy.
In order to safeguard its rights, the company filed a criminal complaint with the Inspector General of Police, Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit, against known and unknown individuals who were allegedly circulating the pirated copy of the payment receipt.
The complainant claimed that WhatsApp's Terms of Service made it clear that users could not use the service to violate intellectual property rights, and that accounts that did so should be suspended and eventually canceled.
The court noted, based on WhatsApp chats from infringing accounts, that, ''These messages clearly suggest that these particular accounts in question, are ex facie being used in complete violation of the terms of the policy of Defendant No. 9 and are infringing the copyright of the Plaintiff."
It was thus determined that the Plaintiff had established a prima facie case in its favour and that the balance of convenience also favours the Plaintiff because irreparable harm would result if an ex-parte temporary injunction was not granted.
The Court ordered, "Accordingly, till the next date of hearing, Defendant Nos. 1 to 8 and 13, their servants, agents, legal representatives, heirs and any other person acting for or on their behalf are restrained from unauthorised storing, reproducing, communicating, disseminating, circulating, copying, selling, offering for sale or making available copies of the film or any other portion thereof, through WhatsApp or any other means or modes, that may infringe the Plaintiff's copyright in the film."
It further ordered WhatsApp to suspend the infringing accounts immediately in order to ensure that the Defendants stop infringing on the Plaintiff's copyright on WhatsApp.
In addition, Justice Narula stated, "It is further directed that in the event the Plaintiff brings to the notice of Defendant No. 9, that any other WhatsApp account is being used for the purpose of selling infringing copies of the film, the Defendant No. 9 shall as expeditiously as possible, and not later than 24 hours from the receipt of the request from the Plaintiff, suspend such accounts."
The Court has also ordered the Internet Service Providers to provide the contact information for private individuals specified in the plaint so that the summons can be served.
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