Star India Pvt. Ltd (Star) is an entertainment and Media Company in India engaged, inter alia, in the production of popular content broadcast on its STAR channels and is an exclusive licensee of media rights to various sporting events which are also broadcast on its Star channels such as TATA Indian Premier League 2022. Star is also a film production and distribution company.
A group company of Star, Novi Digital Entertainment owns and operates the online audio-visual streaming platform and website, ‘’ and the mobile application, ‘Disney+ Hotstar’ which enables viewers to watch Star’s content through the internet.
It came to the knowledge of Star that its exclusive rights in the aforementioned content were infringed by certain rogue apps Defendants No.1-6. These Rogue apps were infringing and/or facilitating/enabling/authorizing the infringement of Star’s exclusive rights under Sections 14(d) and 37 of the Copyright Act, 1957, by reproducing, storing, transmitting, communicating, making available for viewing or providing access to the Star’s aforesaid contents/works.
Resultantly, Star approached the Delhi High Court seeking an injunction against these rogue websites. Star claimed it had exclusive rights in the aforesaid works, including inter alia the rights to publicly exhibit and communicate the said content through any medium or mode, including on STAR Channels or Disney+ Hotstar. It claimed to be the sole and exclusive owner of the Broadcast Reproduction Rights in relation to the aforesaid broadcasts of sporting events, communicated through the STAR Channels and Disney+ Hotstar.
Star submitted that these Rogue apps were third-party Android-based mobile applications that communicate, make available for viewing, and provide access to content, free of cost (or at minimal subscription) and without any authorization from various right owners or Star. The download, distribution, and use of these Android-based mobile Apps, such as the Rogue Apps, occur through anAPK (Android Package Kit) file format. Star contended that these Rogue Apps were completely illegal apps and had no permission or authorization to reproduce, store, transmit, communicate or make available for viewing and provide access to any of the Star’s ’ content.
Star claimed that the intent and purpose of these Rogue Apps was to exploit Star’s copyright-protected works and provide an alternative to legitimate sources to the user in such a way that the user did not have to pay for the content.
Star also joined certain Rogue websites as defendants in the suit Defendants No. 7 to 12 which provided access to users of Android-based mobile Apps such as the Rogue Apps. In layman terms, any user who is looking for a specific Android-based App that will provide access to infringing content would typically be in a position to download such an App from the .APK file provided by the Rogue Websites.
The Department of Telecommunications (‘DOT’) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (‘MEITY’), which are Government departments were also joined as defendants and have been arrayed for the limited purpose of issuing notifications calling upon the internet and telecom service providers to block access to the Rogue Apps and the Rogue Websites.The Court after considering all the submissions and contentions, held that Star had satisfied the three prerequisites of grant of an ex-parte injunction and restrained Defendants No. 1 to 6 (and such other Rogue Apps which are discovered during the course of the proceedings and notified from in any manner communicating to the public, hosting, storing, reproducing, streaming, broadcasting, re-broadcasting, causing to be seen or heard by the public on payment of a charge and/or making available for viewing, the Plaintiffs’ Works/Content.
The Court restrained rogue websites from in any manner infringing and/or authorizing the infringement by inter alia facilitating and materially contributing to the communicating, hosting, streaming, and/or making available for viewing and downloading, without authorization, on their websites or other platforms, through the internet in any manner whatsoever.
The domain name registrars were directed to de-activate/suspend the domain name registration of rogue websites. The ISPs were directed to block access to the various UI domains/websites of the rogue apps and websites. MEITY and DOT were directed to issue a Notification calling upon the various internet and telecom service providers registered under it to block access to the these rogue domains/websites.


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