Circulation of E-Newspaper: Infringement Under Copyright Law

Dissemination of e-newspapers on Telegram has raised a copyright debate under the steady gaze of the Delhi High Court. Because of CoVID-19 limitations coming into power, actual dispersion and house-to-house conveyance of papers got cruelly affected.  As this issue surfaced most paper sites began offering free preliminaries on their individual sites by the methods for downloading free e-paper PDFs of the day’s paper. As a result, there was a spike in the dissemination of E-paper via web-based media by people instead of the Social-media page of the actual Newspaper.

E-NewspaperThe issue in regards to the dissemination of downloaded newspaper PDFs was first elevated by Dainik Bhaskar. It concocted an article distributed on its own every day, asserting that downloading and flowing e-papers was illicit. Before this, an advisory was furnished by the Indian Newspaper Society asserted dissemination or circulation of e-newspapers PDF records added up to Piracy. This blog means to examine how much, the flow of PDFs e-newspaper adds up to copyright encroachment. The author’s main object and purpose are to analyze the issue by considering the judgment conveyed by the Delhi High Court in the case of Jagran Prakashan Limited v. Wire FZ LLC and Ors.

Pursuant to the order dated May 29, 2020, an ad-interim order was issued by Hon’ble Justice Mukta Gupta directing Telegram to provide information about the subscribers or ‘owners’ of certain Telegram Channels who are allegedly circulating online versions of Dainik Jagran.  The issue of whether the circulation of a freely available newspaper online will amount to copyright infringement was dealt with by Delhi High Court.

Dainik Jagran brought a suit against Telegram and anonymous respondents managing certain Telegram stations, asserting the dissemination of e-Newspaper PDF of Claimant’s paper on their separate Telegram Groups. The reprimanded e-papers were downloaded by Group Administrators from the Claimant’s site liberated from cost. A notification was given by Dainik Jagran, claiming the previously mentioned encroachment happening through their station. However, the litigant didn’t make any move compliant with bringing down the message channels of the reviled violators. The Court discovered prima facie infringement of Dainik Jagran’s copyright and subsequently granted the ad-interim injunctions prayed for, guiding Telegram to outfit data about the administrators and individuals from the stations, and directing Telegram to bring down the infringing stations.

According to the policy of the newspaper websites, the flow of PDFs of Newspapers actually sums to an infringement of their copyright. Like for example, The Hindu was the primary paper to distinctly make reference to their terms and condition on their website. The terms and conditions unmistakably notice the terms and conditions of the Newspaper Company, comparable to downloading, copying, and circling the newspaper. The term which shows up before a client or a website user, prior to downloading paper PDF during the free preliminary meeting is cited here-

“Content sharingThe contents of this e-Paper are proprietary and should not be shared with anyone. This condition doesn’t apply to sharing individual articles on social media websites for the purpose of initiating discussions and expressing opinions.”

One of the fitting issues which surface here is the obligation for infringement of copyright (if there is any) will be hung to the stage or the group administrators where the demonstration of copyright infringement is committed.

As adjudged by the Delhi High Court in the case of Myspace v. Super Cassettes¸ held that the Intermediaries can take a defense concocted under section 79 of the Information Technology Act and guarantee safe harbor from the obligation of copyright encroachment. The guidelines made under the Information Technology Act give protection to the delegates in the event that they are really unconscious and have no ‘Genuine Knowledge’ of the supposed infringement or the unlawful substance being coasted on their platforms group/Channels. The judgment further explains the extent of the expression “actual knowledge”. The court held that the state of ‘actual knowledge’ is fulfilled when the particular area is brought inside the knowledge of the intermediatory (Platform Owner).

In the instant case, Dainik Jagran pulled out to the litigants giving data about the area where the copyright infringement has been occurring. Notwithstanding, Telegram didn’t make any move against these channels. It is a particular issue to decide the obligation of the litigant compliant with the copyright infringement. Notwithstanding, not reacting or responding to the notification sent by the Dainik Jagran specialists to telegram has waved off a possibility for a telegram to assert safe harbor.

The Delhi High Court, in its 2016 order in Ashish Bhalla v. Suresh Choudhary and Orsstated that-

To make an Administrator of an online platform liable for defamation would be like making the manufacturer of the newsprint on which defamatory statements are published liable for defamation. When an online platform is created, the creator thereof cannot expect any of the members thereof to indulge in defamation and defamatory statements made by any member of the group cannot make the Administrator liable therefore. It is not as if without the Administrator’s approval of each of the statements, the statements cannot be posted by any of the members of the Group on the said platform.

The previously mentioned judgment has a little precedential value. However, the same holds the explanation of the position of law in a very lucid manner. Subsequently, the litigant has neglected to practice due diligence as per Section 79(3)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 read with Rules 3(2)(d) and (4) of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011.

There is no settled law or legal point of reference overseeing the obligation for the unlawful substance which is glided across the stages. At the point when the Apex Court was worried about WhatsApp’s duty regarding unlawful informed turned, the issue turned into all the rage, inferable from the “end-to-end encryption” strategy of WhatsApp it made it significantly harder for the intermediatory (WhatsApp in the current case) to follow or trail the messages containing unlawful substance and grasp the culprits. The Indian Government is of the assessment to incorporate the arrangement relating to following the messages through corrections of the Intermediary Liability Guidelines. Likewise, there are various instances of requests under Section 144 of the CrPC being given to expect heads of WhatsApp gatherings to take responsibility for ‘fake news’ and unlawful substance conveyed on the group. The risk can’t be dictated by the methods for straight-jacketed legal enactments. Similar should be chosen dependent on a case-to-case premise. It becomes germane to analyze the role of the administrator in adjudicating such disputes.

Author: Soumya Thakur a student of Maharashtra National Law University Aurangabad, intern at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys.  In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at

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