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14 September 2016

Websites containing pirated/illegal content to be blocked, and not URLs alone

The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has allowed the review petition and recalled its order dated March 10, 2016 which restricted the span of the ex-parte ad-interim injunction by directing that the specific URL should be blocked. The Court restored the ex-parte order granted by the Single Judge that the entire websites of defendants, carrying illegal and pirated content, be blocked. The Court in this regard on 29-7-2016 justified the stringent measure to block the website as a whole, as it observed that blocking a URL only may not suffice due to the ease with which a URL can be changed.

Further it also took note of the fact that number of URLs of the rogue websites cumulatively would be approximately 20,000 and that it would be a gargantuan task for the respondent to keep on identifying each offending URL. On the issue of directions to the appellant (Department of Telecommunications as also the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India) to ensure compliance with the ex-parte order, the Division Bench in the case of Department of Electronics and Information Technology v. Star India Pvt. Ltd. held that, it is the duty of the Government, its instrumentalities and agencies to assist in the enforcement of orders passed by the Courts.

The Court was of the view that the direction issued by the Single Judge caused no injury to the department and that the concern relating to freedom of trade on the internet, on the facts of the instant case, was misplaced.