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    Delhi HC Orders Block on Illegal ICC T20 World Cup Streaming Sites

    The Delhi High Court directed the government to issue blocking orders against rogue streaming sites to restrain them from unauthorizedly communicating any part of the ICC events, specifically the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, on any digital platform in any manner whatsoever.

    As per a court order reviewed by MediaNama, Justice Sanjeev Narula granted an interim injunction to Star India Pvt Ltd on May 30, 2024 after hearing its plea against Magicwin.games and multiple other websites offering illegal streaming, gambling services. Star India’s plea was as follows:

    “[Star India] prays for a specifically designed injunction that not only targets the websites currently engaging in infringing activities, which have been identified as Defendants No. 1 to 9 in the instant suit, but also anticipates and includes any new websites that may emerge during the ICC Events. The reason for seeking such an injunction is to ensure that such sites are promptly blocked and removed, thereby preventing them from transmitting or communicating unauthorized signals of the cricket matches.”

    Accordingly, the court ordered the involved Internet Service Providers and Telecom Service Providers to block access to the rogue websites in India and asked the Department of Telecommunications and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to issue the necessary directions for blocking these websites. Further, it said that any other websites that are found to be illegally streaming and communicating the T20 content, will also be blocked.  In fact, on April 2, 2024 the court ordered for the blocking of a mirror website of ‘magicwin.biz’ in the context of the TATA Indian Premier League.

    “Accordingly, it is apprehended that a similar modus operandi will be employed in the present case, especially since Defendants No. 1, 4, 5 and 6 have already announced betting on the upcoming T20 World Cup,” said the order.

    Illegal streaming infringes on Star India’s copyright

    Aside from impacting the company’s revenue streams, the court noted that the broadcast of content, including footage, commentary, and other elements, is safeguarded under Section 37 (broadcast reproduction rights) of the Copyright Act.

    “The unauthorized use of these elements not only affects the financial returns but also infringes upon the copyright protections accorded to the broadcast content. It is thus imperative to recognize the legal rights associated with the creation and dissemination of this content, emphasizing the need for stringent measures to prevent unauthorized broadcasts and safeguard the Plaintiff’s interests,” said the order.

    Blocking orders required to protect copyright in digital world: According to the order, swift action is crucial in “the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the digital landscape” to prevent such copyright infringements.

    “The legal remedies must remain robust and effective in curtailing copyright infringement, particularly in the fast-paced environment of the internet. Courts must, therefore, be proactive in updating, adapting, and modifying their directions to address these challenges effectively. In the absence of such adaptive legal measures, the rights of intellectual property holders stand at risk of being undermined, rendering their intellectual property rights ineffectual. It is thus essential for the legal framework to remain vigilant and responsive to the challenges presented by digital piracy, ensuring that the protections afforded to copyright and intellectual property are not only theoretical but also enforceable and practical in safeguarding the rights and interests of the rightful owners,” said the order.

    Since the T20 World Cup is scheduled from June 2 to June 29, any delay in blocking access to rogue websites could lead to “significant financial losses” and an “irreparable breach of their broadcast reproduction rights,” said the court. The matter will be heard next on November 5, 2024.

    Similar cases addressed in court

    A similar interim injunction order was granted To Star India by Narula on May 28, 2024 as well for the blocking of Stream2watch.Pk and 10 other rogue websites which are stated to be primarily hosting illegal and pirated content, engaging in making third-party content and information available to the public. While giving similar directions in this case as well, next hearing date here is October 28, 2024.

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    The post Delhi HC Orders Block on Illegal ICC T20 World Cup Streaming Sites appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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