In a significant order, the Delhi High Court has directed the messaging app, Telegram to disclose the identity of users who are running channels on its platform to illegally share e-paper version of the Dainik Jagran newspaper on a daily basis.
The High Court also directed Telegram to take down the channels which were indulging in similar copyright infringement activities against Jagran Prakashan Limited, the publishers of Dainik Jagran , within 48 hours.
Jagran Prakashan had moved the High Court complaining that Telegram, a Dubai-based company, has allowed its users to create various channels without disclosing their identity.
Some of the users, Jagran Prakshan claimed, have created channels on which e-papers of the Dainik Jagran are being uploaded in PDF format on daily basis. It said Telegram with the help of these channels are not only permitting availability of current editions of the e-paper but also previous editions of the e-paper published in the past.
Jagran Prakshan said this feature is available to a user only if he or she subscribes the e-paper while visiting its official website.
Jagran Prakashan contended that Telegram through the channels was “indulging into reproducing, adopting, distributing, transmitting and disseminating the e-newspapers” which was not only causing “serious financial loss” but also violating its trademark rights as well as copyrights in the e-newspaper.
The plea further highlighted that the subscriber base of the illegal channel was growing day-by-day. As on May 18, 2020 the channel on Telegram sharing the Dainik Jagran National Edition newspaper was 19,239.
When Telegram did not respond to repeated reminders of the publisher to pull down the channel, Jagran Prakhan moved the High Court.
During the hearing, the Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology stated that they have no control whatsoever on the activities of Telegram.
The High Court said Jagran Prakshan has made out a “prima facie case in its favour and in case no ad-interim injunction is granted the plaintiff (Jagran Prakshan) would suffer irreparable loss”.