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Delhi HC asks WhatsApp to block groups illegally circulating newspapers

Dainik Bhaskar Corp provides access to its e-newspapers on a subscription model through its official website and mobile application, the court was told.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: December 28, 2021 2:09:00 pm
whatsapp, whatsapp indian express, whatsapp features, whatsapp new features, whatsapp upcoming features,WhatsApp LLC, earlier in its response to a notice from DB Corp Ltd, had declined the request to block such groups and sought production of a court order.

The Delhi High Court has directed WhatsApp to take down groups which are unauthorisedly and illegally circulating the online edition of the newspapers owned by Dainik Bhaskar Corp Limited.

“Plaintiff has made out a prima facie case and the balance of convenience also lies in favour of the Plaintiff. Further, an irreparable loss would be caused, in case an ex-parte order of injunction is not granted – restraining the infringing Defendants from illegally circulating and distributing the Plaintiff’s e-newspaper,” said Justice Sanjeev Narula in an order passed on December 24.

The publisher of Dainik Bhaskar and other newspapers has approached the High Court seeking directions to WhatsApp to block certain groups which are allegedly circulating its e-newspapers without authorisation. WhatsApp LLC, earlier in its response to a notice from DB Corp Ltd, had declined the request to block such groups and sought production of a court order.

DB Corp provides access to its e-newspapers on a subscription model through its official website and mobile application, the court was told. “The said process of digitisation of publication entailed substantial investment in the research and development and other resources in order to provide quality service as well as increase readership of the newspapers. In terms thereof, a reader can subscribe to Plaintiff’s newspaper by paying a subscription fee. The subscription is for a single individual user to browse content on the website for their personal use, and the subscriber does not have the option of downloading the e-newspapers,” the media group argued before the court.

In a press release, DB Corp said illegal and unauthorised sharing of e-newspapers, across publications, has “become rampant and is prejudicial to the interests of the publishers”. A number of other newspaper organisations have also approached the court against WhatsApp and Telegram earlier seeking similar relief.

DB Corp in its suit named 85 groups on WhatsApp and submitted that there might be many other groups and platforms where its e-newspapers have been unauthorisedly and illegally shared. The case will be heard next on May 2, 2022.

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