The Delhi High Court today restrained pubs and restaurants in several Indian cities, including the national capital, from showing the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup matches to their patrons without the permission of Star India Pvt Ltd.
Justice G S Sistani ordered an interim ex-parte stay on "exhibiting" the ongoing 'ICC Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014' World Cup matches involving the national cricket teams from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and others from March 16 to April 6. "Issue notice of this application to defendants for the aforesaid date and it is ordered that till further orders the defendants (except defendant 45 who is the copyright owner), ... as also all other persons who are unknown at present but are found to be similarly infringing the copyright in the cinematograph film of ongoing ICC T2O WC matches..." the court said. "...are hereby restrained from, in any manner, exhibiting, communicating to the public, making available for viewing and/or publicly performing the ICC T20 WC matches, without obtaining a licence from the plaintiffs (Star India and others), in establishments such as pubs, bars, restaurants and other public places where matches are made available for public viewing," the court said.
It was of the view that if the interim injunction is not granted ex-parte "the very purpose of granting this relief would be defeated".
The court also issued summons to all the defendants including city-based restaurateur Priyank Sukhija and listed the matter for further hearing on May 8.
The court also appointed six local commissioners "to visit premises intimated to them by the plaintiffs as and when information is received by the plaintiffs about the infringing activity taking place in cities of Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Goa and Chennai, including premises of the identified defendants, as well as the other unknown defendants..." The order came on Star India and other's plea seeking protection from infringement of their copyright.
The court has said that local commissioners for Delhi/NCR will be paid Rs 75,000 each as fees, and those for outside Delhi will be paid Rs one lakh each. The amount is to be paid by Star India for every day the local commissioners visit any of the addresses or premises where the matches are being shown without permission of the channel, the court said.
It said the local commissioners have to ascertain whether T20 World Cup matches are being exhibited at the premises inspected by them, serve a copy of the stay order at such establishments, make photo/video recordings of the "unauthorised communication and exhibition" and submit a report within two weeks of conclusion of the whole exercise.
Star India filed the civil suit seeking protection from infringement of its copyright by the bars and eateries, including those owned by Sukhija.
It alleged that cafes, bars, pubs, restaurants and similar establishments having their networks in various towns and cities across the the country, including Delhi, will infringe or are likely to infringe upon its exclusive copyright by illegally exhibiting the ICC T20 World Cup matches without its permission.
The channel sought that no cafe, bar, pub, restaurant and similar establishment can exhibit, the matches to the public without its permission.
The channel claimed there is a likelihood of such establishments indulging in blatant acts of infringement of their copyright in order to boost sales.