Chennai: In a major relief to producer ‘Kalaipuli’ Thanu, the Madras high court has restrained 169 licensed Internet Service Providers (ISP) from giving access to “rogue websites” and other similar websites indulging in online piracy and infringement of copyright pertaining to Tamil film “Kabali”, starring superstar Rajinikanth, and more particularly, prohibit them from exhibiting, releasing, projecting, screening or in any manner providing platforms for downloading the film, slated for release on July 22.
Justice N.Kirubakaran granted the interim injunction while ordering notice, returnable by August 8, to the Union and state governments, TRAI and 169 licensed ISPs on a petition filed by Thanu. “In the past, the petitioner is said to have suffered heavy loss due to online and video piracy of his films Theri and Kanithan and his apprehension regarding illegal downloading and streaming of his upcoming movie, by “rogue websites” is well-founded. Hence, this court is convinced to grant an order of injunction”, the judge said.
He said when the details furnished by the petitioner categorically prove that illegal downloading and streaming of newly released movies would cause heavy loss to the producer, the apprehension of the petitioner, who has invested more than Rs 100 crore, for the making of the film, cannot be ignored. When the investment and hard work put in by the artists of cinema industry were looted by illegal downloading of movies from ISPs by rogue websites, the authorities were expected to prohibit the ISPs, which were licensed by them to do business, from providing access to those websites, the judge said.
The court said further, from the communication of the Union government, it was clear that the issue was covered in the Unified License Terms and Conditions.
Hence, the Centre and Trai have the responsibility to ensure that terms and conditions were followed by ISPs. What was alleged was nothing but cyber crime and therefore, steps have to be taken to prevent commission of the offence.
“When the film Kabali is to be released on July 22, there is imminent threat of injury to the petitioner by illegal downloading of the movie, which cannot be compensated later and therefore, this court is convinced that the petition is quia timet action and an order of interim injunction is necessary to prevent the anticipated mischief.”
The judge said it was stated that within a few hours of the movie release, the film was illegally downloaded causing heavy loss to everyone connected with the movie, especially, the producer. Instead of allowing the illegal act to be committed, it was always advisable and appropriate to prevent the potential offenders from getting access to the newly released films through ISPs.
“In the past, the petitioner is said to have suffered heavy loss due to online and video piracy of his films
Theri and Kanithan and his apprehension regarding illegal downloading and streaming of his upcoming movie, by “rogue websites” is well-founded. Hence, this court is convinced to grant an order of injunction”, the judge said.