Applause Entertainment Private Limited vs. Meta Platforms Inc. and others

In a recent copyright infringement suit filed by the producers of the web series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, the Bombay High Court granted a dynamic injunction on May 2, against 32 Instagram account holders and John Doe (unknown parties).

The present proceedings have been initiated by the applicant –Plaintiff (Applause Entertainment Private Ltd.), asserting copyright in a web series titled “Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, which is said to be a cinematic adaptation and dramatization of the book titled “The Scam”. The authors of the book assigned all rights, title and interest in the said book, in favour of the plaintiff for adapting the book into a series or any audio-visual content.  The plaintiff entered into MOU in 2019, with Sony Pictures Network India Private Ltd, whose studio acted as a line producer for producing the web series. Subsequently, the licence was granted to OTT Platform of Sony (SONYLIV) for broadcasting the said web series.

The Plaintiff came across social media accounts on Instagram which belongs to Meta (Defendant no. 1) using parts of the series in the context of their businesses or for promotion of their accounts to generate revenue. The plaintiff complained several times to the company as per the mechanism of grievance redressal and received no action in respect to the complaint. Against this backdrop the present suit was filed. The Bombay High Court in its order restrained the defendants ( Defendants no. 2-34) from infringing Applause’s exclusive copyright and asked them to delete the existing infringing posts on their accounts. The court held that it was convinced that unless such interim reliefs are granted urgently in favour of the plaintiff, the plaintiff is likely to suffer grave and irreparable loss, thereby indicating that the balance of convenience also lies in favour of the plaintiff.

In addition, Meta was directed to disclose all particulars of these handles before the next date of hearing.