The Delhi High Court has ordered the blocking of mobile application PikaShow for illegal streaming of copyright content.
The plaintiffs are the leading entertainment and media company in India and own copyright over a large volume of content including award-winning films, music, television series, sporting events, etc. The Plaintiffs, apart from broadcasting the 65 STAR television channels in over eight languages, also own their separate OTT platform ‘Hotstar’ and a mobile application ‘Disney+ Hotstar’.
The STAR channels’ content includes various popular sporting events organised by the BCCI, ICC, Wimbledon, Pro Kabaddi League, etc. The Plaintiffs’ OTT platform Disney+Hotstar is stated to have been named the most popular streaming platform in India in 2019, accounting for 45.88% of the total market by number of instals. The claim of the Plaintiffs is that in the original copyrighted content owned by them, they enjoy the exclusive rights to broadcast, re-broadcast, retransmit, stream, communicate or make available the said content in any manner whatsoever.
The Plaintiffs’ grievance in the present suit is that their content is illegally being made available through the App PIKASHOW on the internet, which claims to be providing free content of all well-known OTT platforms, including that of the Plaintiffs. As per the plaint, the said App is a standalone mobile application which is brazenly engaged in piracy of exclusive content belonging to various copyright owners.
The single bench of Justice Prathibha M. Singh found that the Defendants are unabashedly and brazenly making available a large amount of copyrighted content including that of the Plaintiffs. On a perusal of the pages of the App, it does not appear that any non-infringing content is available on a substantial portion of the App. Even the studies conducted by Lumen as cited by the Plaintiffs, and the large volume of cease-and-desist letters and complaints made against the App, prima facie establish that the App is a rogue App and deserves to be blocked as a whole, as past experience has shown that blocking of URLs themselves may not be sufficient to stop the streaming of infringing content.
“The large volume of infringing content coupled with the manner in which the App is sought to be made accessible and downloadable by users by using various deceptive methods, leaves no manner of doubt in the mind of the Court that the intention of the owners/operators of this App is to clearly subvert any technological measures that may be there on established platforms, to ensure that infringing content can continue to be streamed. It is also seen that the App permits advertising and thus there is a monetary benefit also being derived therefrom,” the court said.
An order of interim injunction is granted restraining the ‘PIKASHOW APP’ and/or its owners/operators from making available the said App through any of the domain names/websites provided in the plaint.
The PIKASHOW App shall stand restrained from being broadcasted or being accessed in any manner whatsoever including through source domains and websites mentioned above.
Case: Star India Pvt Ltd and Anr v/s Pikashow Application
Citation: CS(COMM) 759/2022
Date of Decision: 04.11.2022