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November 11, 2020

Online Content Removed By Infringement Notice Should Be Temporarily Reinstated Pending Disposal Of Suit If No Interim Relief Sought

Author: Pranay Bali

In Narendra Hirawat & Co. v. Satish Tandon Productions & Ors. [LD/VC/I.A. No. 193A of 2020 in LD/VC No. 193 of 2020], a Single Judge [K.R. Shriram, J.] of the High Court of Bombay vide an order dated October 16, 2020, directed reinstatement of YouTube links of five of the Plaintiff’s movies, which had been taken down for copyright infringement.

The Plaintiff claimed to have copyright in five movies, which were available on YouTube. The Defendant no. 1 had issued a takedown notice to YouTube with respect to three of these movies, i.e., “Ustado Ke Ustad”, “Sautela” and “Namak”. YouTube communicated this to the Plaintiff, pursuant to which the Plaintiff filed a counter notification. YouTube informed both parties that as per its policy, if Defendant No. 1 does not respond within 14 days with evidence that it has initiated appropriate legal proceedings against the Plaintiff, YouTube will reinstate the Plaintiff’s videos. The Defendant no. 1 filed a suit in July 2020 and forwarded a copy of the plaint to YouTube, which thereafter informed the Plaintiff that their videos will not be reinstated. The Plaintiff accordingly filed the instant suit and also prayed for ad-interim reliefs. 

The Court observed that the Defendant had not sought any ad-interim reliefs since filing the suit in July, and in effect, without grant of any interim or ad interim relief, the Defendant had successfully stayed the reinstatement of the Plaintiff’s videos by YouTube.

Finding this to be prejudicial to the Plaintiff, the Court directed that pending the hearing and final disposal of the suit, YouTube “shall reinstate / reactivate the URL links referred to the five films mentioned hereinbelow and so far as the dispute is restricted to these five films, shall not disable applicant’s channel – NH Studioz from their platform…shall consider the strike notice given by defendant no.1 as withdrawn.” The Court also directed that the Defendant shall not issue any further notices in respect of the five movies which are the subject matter of the suit.

Disclaimer: Views, opinions, interpretations are solely those of the author, not of the firm (ALG India Law Offices LLP) nor reflective thereof. Author submissions are not checked for plagiarism or any other aspect before being posted.

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