The Madras High Court has directed Google and its subsidiary YouTube to provide details, including identity and address, of a user ‘Marupakkam
Seithigal’, who posted a video content dubbed defamatory by petitioner Lebara Foundation. The court dismissed an appeal by Google and YouTube
against the order of a single judge who directed them to disclose the IP address and other details of the uploader of the content in the title ‘Marupakkam Seithigal’ on YouTube about Lebara.
“The learned Single Judge has noticed, and in our view rightly so, that it is not some secret information affecting such personal rights of the undisclosed author of Marupakkam Seithigal which are sought to be made available in pursuance of the directions of the court, but only the identity and address so that the court can take appropriate process to determine the rights of the Lebara Foundation, and the author of Marupakkam Seithigal,” the division bench said.
YouTube and Google filed a memo in the high court before the division bench stating that the IP address of the user resolved outside of Indian jurisdiction and as per prevailing Indian law they are not in a position to provide user details. Rejecting the argument, the division bench said, “We are of the view that the minimum which is required to be done when the portal is used for materials which are prima facie offensive is to disclose the identity and IP address in pursuance of the direction passed by the single judge. Instead, YouTube and Google want Lebara to go through a
circuitous route which is not necessary.”
“Appellants having provided the portal and the platform to the respondent this is a minimal assistance which is required,” it said.
Originally the Lebara Foundation filed a civil suit to remove the video posting in the page of ‘Marupakkam Seithigal’ on YouTube and also sought for a permanent injunction restraining them from uploading the defamatory material.