Published on: 30 September 2023 at 14:02 IST
The Delhi High Court, presided over by Justice Prathiba M Singh, has issued a restraining order against several entities involved in the distribution and sharing of educational course materials from the online platform “Apna College” on social media channels such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and YouTube.
This legal action stemmed from a suit filed by Apna College, alleging copyright infringement against 17 defendant entities who were found to be disseminating Apna College’s educational content, including printed course materials and videos, across various social media platforms.
Apna College contended that its copyrighted course materials, known as ALPHA, DELTA, and ALPHA PLUS, encompassed recorded videos, live sessions, recordings of live sessions, assignment questions, reading materials, and question banks.
In response to this infringement, Justice Singh issued an interim injunction order, instructing that the details of the Telegram channels or handles, as outlined in the complaint, be provided to the respective social media platform, with a mandate to block them within a span of 72 hours.
Furthermore, the court ordered Telegram to disclose any available information regarding the individuals or entities responsible for operating these channels, including email addresses and phone numbers. These disclosed details would be solely utilized for the ongoing lawsuit, and not for any other purposes, as stipulated by the court.
Justice Singh also directed that any newly emerging Telegram channels or backup channels related to the case must promptly share their information with Telegram, which would then take appropriate actions accordingly.
In making these determinations, Justice Singh drew upon a precedent set by her in a previous case, Neetu Singh v. Telegram FZ LLC, which involved unauthorized sharing of video lectures, books, and educational materials on the Telegram platform.
The court noted that in the current case, the defendant entities had employed various methods to communicate and circulate Apna College’s courses, videos, and course materials without authorization.
Additionally, the court ordered Google LLC to remove the YouTube channel ‘Show Time,’ which contained copyrighted works infringing upon Apna College’s content. It also mandated the suspension of several domain names, including www.hacktack.com, www.classcentral.com, and www.freecourseuniverse.com.
Furthermore, Justice Singh directed the deactivation of WhatsApp numbers belonging to two individuals who were illicitly sharing Apna College’s lectures and PDF questions through the application.
The court also ordered the disbandment of the WhatsApp group ‘JAVA Alpha Placement Batch,’ created by an individual.
Lastly, Mediafire, a file hosting application, was instructed to remove the file-sharing link that contained infringing content from Apna College.
The court acknowledged the ease of copying and reproducing course materials on digital platforms and noted that these defendant entities had amassed a substantial number of subscribers. They were also found to be collecting substantial sums of money for the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials belonging to Apna College.
The court emphasized that these entities were luring students and candidates to subscribe to their channels as an alternative to paying Apna College’s fees. Failure to block these defendants from disseminating Apna College’s copyrighted material would result in significant financial losses and damage to the platform’s reputation.
Thus, the court concluded that the injunction was warranted to prevent further unauthorized dissemination of Apna College’s copyrighted material.