Viacom18 takes dynamic route to knock-out rogue websites from infringing its media rights

Viacom18 has secured a broad dynamic injunction from the Delhi High Court for the Indian cricket team’s bilateral matches. Recently, to strengthen its hold in the sports broadcasting industry, Viacom18 had bagged the BCCI linear and digital right in a three-way bidding war between Viacom18, Sony and Star. As a result, for the next five years i.e., from September 2023 till March 2028, all bilateral games involving the Indian cricket team that will be played in India along with domestic cricket, shall now be broadcasted/streamed by Viacom18 on its television and OTT properties. With this Viacom18 has also become the prominent sports destination as it already has the digital rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL), Women’s Premier League (WPL) and other major sporting events like the Olympics 2024, MotoGP 2023, La Liga, Diamond League etc.

The new sports broadcasting leader, Viacom18 Media Private Limited, had approached the Delhi High Court seeking an ad-interim dynamic injunction to protect its Media Rights in relation to the BCCI Events against various rogue and pirate websites as well as John Does/Ashok Kumars/Unknown Defendants. The Court while expressing its concerns regarding the unending menace of piracy noted that the Courts have become inundated with suits pertaining to such issues and suggested the importance of a robust anti-piracy policy to curb the issues. The Court observed that a prima facie case for interim injunction was made out and further held that the grant of an injunction would be necessary to avoid irreparable loss/injury from being caused to Viacom18. 

The Court further order that Viacom18 shall not be bound to initiate any fresh proceedings in relation to any new alphanumeric/redirect/mirror websites that are expected to mushroom during the course of the BCCI events. Access to such websites shall be blocked by the Internet Service Providers (IPSs) upon being informed about the same by Viacom18 on an affidavit. This, dynamic injunction provides Viacom18 to swiftly act against pirates and rogue websites infringing and making available the BCCI matches without due permissions. With this effective dynamic injunction Order from the Delhi High Court, Viacom18 has set the field to ensure a smooth exploitation of its rights and bowl-out any infringing and pirated content.

 Such dynamic injunction orders re-affirm and assures the owner/licensee/assignee of IP rights that the humongous capitals invested in relation to such rights shall be protected against pirates and infringers. With such orders being passed by the Courts, it has also become possible to unearth the identities of those hiding behind the cloak of anonymity on the internet and book them for their illegal actions.

Anil Lale (General Counsel, Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd.): “We at Viacom18 are proud to be the exclusive digital and television broadcaster for Indian cricket. Viacom18 has always been at the forefront in the fight against piracy. I am sure this is a welcome step for all the cricket fans as also for bona fide broadcasters like us who spend huge sums to get these rights.. 

While we are proud to say that we have won several battles against these pirate websites, we understand that the war against piracy is a continuing one and we are committed towards winning it.”

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