The Delhi High Court last month passed a dynamic injunction order in favour of media conglomerate Viacom 18 which owns the format rights for the popular reality show Bigg Boss. The plaintiffs filed the suit seeking protection of their rights including reproduction rights in the show Big Boss in all formats alleging that the defendants are running multiple websites which broadcast episodes of Bigg Boss from previous seasons in an unlicensed and unauthorized manner.
Viacom 18 obtained the rights for the said programme from M/s Endemol Shine IP BV, which owns the rights to the original international reality show Big Brother. Bigg Boss is based on this show and the plaintiffs also own the exclusive license to broadcast the Marathi and Kannada versions of the show. The plaintiffs argued that five of the defendants in the copyright infringement suit are currently running websites wherein previous seasons of Big Boss are being telecast. What is misleading is that domain name of the defendants are also registered in the name of Bigg Boss.
It was argued on behalf of Viacom that apart from the unauthorized dissemination of previous seasons, the defendants have already advertised the upcoming seasons/episodes of the show which are going to be telecast on their websites. Plaintiffs contended that it is their apprehension that if the defendants are not stopped they will make a significant monetary dent into their business.
Finally after hearing the submissions on behalf of the plaintiffs, Justice Pratibha Singh observed –
“ The Bigg Boss programme enjoys enormous popularity even in India and the unauthorized and illegal dissemination of these programmes, irrespective of past and future seasons, would be clear infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright of broadcast and reproduction rights.”
Further the Court noted that if mushrooming of websites with the domain name Bigg Boss is permitted, it would boost piracy and unauthorized dissemination causing heavy losses to the plaintiff who have obtained the rights after considerable investment. Court also referred to the fact that Jio Cinema, the OTT platform which belongs to the plaintiff is a subscription based platform and the existence of such websites will also jeopardize the subscription base.
Finally noting that Viacom was successful in making out a prima facie case of ex-parte injunction in the copyright infringement suit, Justice Singh said that irreparable loss will be caused to the plaintiff if the defendants are not restrained. Thus, Court directed the defendants to be restrained from telecasting any episodes of Bigg Boss and blocking of domain names of these websites.
Moreover, Court also noted in the order that if any further websites are found by the plaintiffs in the future using the name Bigg Boss, an application can be filed under Order 1 Rule 10 CPC along with an affidavit and the present injunction would then accordingly extend to those websites as well.
Order Link – Click Here