The Delhi High Court has ordered WhatsApp to suppress groups that illegally and without permission circulate the online edition of newspapers owned by Dainik Bhaskar Corp Limited.
“The Applicant has established a prima facie case and the balance of convenience is also in favor of the Applicant. In addition, irreparable loss would be caused, in the event that an ex parte injunction order is not granted – preventing offending defendants from illegally circulating and distributing the plaintiff’s electronic journal, ”Judge Sanjeev Narula said in an order issued on December 24.
The publisher of Dainik Bhaskar and other newspapers approached the High Court to ask WhatsApp to block certain groups who allegedly circulated their electronic newspapers without permission. WhatsApp LLC, earlier in its response to a notice from DB Corp Ltd, had denied the request to block such groups and sought production of a court order.
DB Corp provides access to its electronic journals on a subscription model through its official website and mobile app, the court was told. “The said process of digitizing the publication has resulted in a substantial investment in research and development and other resources in order to provide quality service as well as to increase newspaper readership. In this regard, a reader can subscribe to the applicant’s newspaper by paying a subscription fee. The subscription allows a single individual user to browse the content of the website for their personal use, and the subscriber does not have the possibility to download the electronic newspapers, ”argued the media group in court.
In a press release, DB Corp said the illegal and unauthorized sharing of electronic journals, between publications, had “become endemic and detrimental to the interests of publishers.” A number of other news organizations also approached the court against WhatsApp and Telegram earlier to seek similar relief.
DB Corp in its lawsuit named 85 groups on WhatsApp and argued that there could be many other groups and platforms where its electronic logs have been shared in an unauthorized and illegal manner. The case will be heard on May 2, 2022.