The Bombay High Court has granted an ad-interim dynamic injunction against 33 Instagram handles and Ashok Kumar (unknown persons) restraining them from using parts of Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story to promote their businesses.
Justice Manish Pitale held that the makers made out a strong prima fait appears that the said activity of defendant Nos.2 to 34 violates the proprietary rights of the plaintiffs…In the facts and circumstances of the present case and the manner in which defendant Nos.2 to 34 appear to be using Instagram platform, his Court is of the opinion that a strong prima facie case is indeed made out on behalf of the plaintiff for granting such exparte ad-interim relief, which may amount to a dynamic injunction”, the court held.
The dynamic injunction will operate till June 19, 2023, the next date of hearing.
The plaintiff Applause Entertainment Pvt Ltd is the copyright assignee of the book Scam 1992 (on which the web-series is based on) for the purpose of adapting it on screen. Applause claimed that it has the publicity and character rights on the web-series and the cast members. It alleged that 33 Instagram accounts were using substantial parts of the web series clips etc. to promote their business activities. According to the plaintiff, it filed complaints with Instagram against the handles but Instagram took no action against them.
Thus, Applause filed a copyright infringement suit against Instagram and the users and filed the present application seeking ex-parte ad-interim reliefs. It sought ad-interim relief against the specific Instagram handles and also Ashok Kumar (John Doe) apprehending that the defendants may use other accounts to continue to violate its rights. The court held that a strong prima facie case is made out by the plaintiff that it has the copyright in the web series, and it can only be watched on the OTT platform SonyLIV. Any other communication to the public would be violation of copyright in the web series which prima facie belongs to Applause, the court said.
The court further said that prima facie, the Instagram handles violated Applause’s proprietary rights. The court said that while Applause has repeated approached Instagram for grievance redressal, it has not shown any inclination to take action against the violating handles.
Therefore, the court said that a strong prima facie case for an ex-parte ad-interim dynamic injunction is made out. The court added that Applause is likely to suffer grave an irreparable loss unless the dynamic injunction is granted urgently. Therefore, balance of convenience also lies in its favour, said the court.
The court directed Instagram to remove the infringing posts and accounts mentioned in the plaint. The court also directed Instagram to remove any infringing posts shared with it by Applause Entertainment from now on. The court further directed Instagram to disclose the contact details, IP addresses and physical locations/addresses etc. of the infringing accounts with Applause as well as the court.
This article was first published on LiveLaw