Karnataka High Court sets aside order blocking Twitter handles of Congress, Bharat Jodo Yatra
The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday set aside an order of a commercial court in Bengaluru, which had directed the micro-blogging site to block the Twitter handles of both Indian National Congress and its mass movement Bharat Jodo Yatra, in connection with a copyright infringement suit.
However, the Division Bench of Justice G. Narendar and Justice P.N. Desai made it clear that its verdict setting aside the commercial court decision was subject to the Congress removing the infringing content (tweets) from all its social media platforms.
The grand old party had moved the High Court, stating that it had tweeted the infringing content by mistake and assured to remove the same.
While directing the party to preserve the evidence, the High Court observed that there was no need to block the Twitter handle of the party, since it was ready to delete the infringing content by 2 pm tomorrow.
The High Court further said that it was not cutting out the lower court order, adding that other interim applications would be reconsidered.
The court of Additional City Civil Judge Lathakumari M. had passed the order on Monday on a copyright infringement suit filed by plaintiff MRT Music.
As per the ACC judge, the plaintiff had produced the CD showing the original version of copyrighted work with that of the illegally synchronized version.
Prima facie material available before the court had established that if the same was encouraged, the plaintiff, who was in the business of acquiring cinematography films, songs and music albums, would be put to irreparable injury and the same may further lead to encouraging the piracy at large.
The court ruled that the defendants, by way of an order of an ex-parte injunction, are restrained from unauthorised and illegal use of the copyrighted work owned by the plaintiff till the next date of hearing.
Further, the court ordered the micro-blogging site to take down three links from its platform and to block the Twitter handles of INC and Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The respondents in the case include the Indian National Congress (INC), Supriya Shrinate, Rahul Gandhi, Twitter Inc and Ashok Kumar.
Agreeing with the Counsel for MRT, who sought appointment of a Commissioner to inspect and conduct an electronic audit, as well as preserve the infringing material on INC’s Twitter account and Bharat Jodo Yatra’s Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook accounts, the Judge noted that the object of granting injunction would stand defeated, if a Commissioner was not appointed.
The Court then appointed S.N. Venkateshmurthy, District System Administrator of Computer Section, Commercial Court, Bengaluru, as Local Commissioner.
He was directed by the ACC Judge to visit the defendants 1 to 3 website, conduct electronic audit, preserve the infringing materials available in the above social media, prepare inventory of the same and store it in this court’s system and in a separate CD.
The court further ruled that the defendants, by way of an order of an ex-parte injunction, have been restrained from unauthorised and illegal use of the copyrighted work owned by the plaintiff till the next date of hearing.
(Case title: MRT Music vs Indian National Congress and Ors)