On May 21 2021, the Delhi High Court passed an interim order that restrained WhatsApp and Telegram from illegitimately copying, reproducing, distributing, transmitting or circulating the electronic copies of Time of India and Navbharat Times on their platforms respectively. A single-judge bench of Justice Jayant Nath heard this application under Order 39 Rule 1 and 2 CPC filed by Bennett, Coleman, and Company Ltd. The applicant sought an ex parte injunction to restrict the defendants from the illegal circulation of e-papers. In June 2020 the plaintiff became aware of unapproved and illegal distribution of the plaintiff's proprietary e-newspapers by the user of WhatsApp and Telegram.
The court observed that Plaintiff is the elite proprietor of the copyright of said literary products, having the rights to duplicate something very similar in any material structure and to protect from the encroachment of its copyright. The plaintiff has also an e-paper service available on its website accessible to the consumers by purchasing a subscription.
"Plaintiff is the exclusive owner of the copyright of said literary works, possessing the rights to reproduce the same in any material form and also to protect from infringement of its copyright." Order stated.
The court further stated that the Defendants circulating the plaintiff's e-papers clearly violated the plaintiff's rights and a prima facie case was made out of it. Considering these the High Court passed an interim injunction favouring the plaintiff, the court also issued notice to WhatsApp and Telegram along with certain persons who are involved in the circulation of Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd published e-papers on those platforms.
"The plaintiff is an exclusive owner of the copyright in the said literary work, therefore, possesses all rights to it in any material forms. Defendants are illegally circulating copies of e-newspaper owned by the plaintiff which violate the rights of the plaintiff" High Court said.
The plaintiff submitted that the newspaper Times of India is India's most broadly circled English day by day and is appraised among the world's six best papers and furthermore draws in a day by day flow of over a million copies. It was also submitted that the published content on the plaintiff's website as well as in the original literary work is subjected to copyright protection under Section 14 of the Copyright Act. It was said that the number of unauthorised group admins and channels circulate the pdf copy of the newspaper daily.