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John Doe order in Viacom 18 Motion Pictures v. Jyoti Cable Network and Ors. (movie Speedy Singh)

by Jai Anand — last modified May 26, 2012 10:58 AM
This is the case filed by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, producer of movie 'Speedy Singh' against Jyoti Cable Network and other unkown cable operators restraining them from infringing their copyrights and the Court granted an interim injunction called 'john doe' order under Order 39 Rule 1 and Rule 3 of CPC, 1908.


Present: Mr. Rajiv Nayar, Sr. Adv. with Mr. Kunal Tandon, Adv. for the Plaintiff.

I.A. No. 15224/2011 (under Section 151 CPC)

Deficient Court fee be made good within 3 days.
Application is disposed of with the above direction.

CS(OS) No. 2352/2011

Plaint be registered as a Suit. Summons be issued to the defendants through ordinary manner, registered A.D. post and courier service, returnable for 19th December, 2011. Process fee etc. be filed within a week.

I.A. No. 15223/2011 (u/O 26 R 9 CPC)

Notice for the date fixed.

I.A. No. 15222/2011 (under Order 39 Rules 1 and 2 r/w Section 151 CPC)

Notice for the date fixed.

Plaintiff is engaged in the business of production and distribution of cinematograph films and other entertainment business. Plaintiff is the producer of cinematograph film "Speedy Singhs". Plaintiff has copyright over the said film. In view of the past experience plaintiff apprehends that by using advanced technology, the movie "Speedy Singhs" would be copied and distributed in the market on DVDs/CDs as also exhibited on cable and internet by defendant nos. 1 to 5 and other unknown persons who have been impleaded as defendant nos. 6 to 30 in the assumed name Ashok Kumar. In case the film is shown on cable, internet and/or through any other medium by the persons, who are not being authorized by the plaintiff to do so, cine goers may not go to theaters to watch the film, resulting in huge financial losses to the plaintiff. Factum of copying and distributing the film by such unscrupulous persons on CDs/DVDs/Blue-ray discs/VCDs and through various other mediums has been noticed in the past in respect of new releases not only by the plaintiff but other producers as well. It is contended that with regard to such unknown persons "John Doe" practice has to be resorted to, which is otherwise well recognized not only in India but in various other countries such as United States of America, Canada, England and Australia. I do find force in this contention. In Taj Television vs. Rajan Mandal and Ors. 2003 FSR 22 at page 407 principles of "John Doe" order has been recognized and followed for passing appropriate directions against such unknown and unscrupulous cable operators. A Single Judge of this Court in CS (OS) No. 821/2011 titled UTV Software Communications Limited vs. Home Cable Network Ltd. and Ors., has noted that court has jurisdiction to pass an order in nature of a "John Doe" injunction order against unknown persons in the circumstances, as has been pleaded by the plaintiff in the present case. Past practice of unauthorized persons indulging in such illegal activities of copying the film on CDs/DVDs/Blue-ray discs and distributing the same has also been taken note in the said order. One can also not lose sight of the fact that film piracy in respect of such new release is not uncommon and judicial notice of this fact can be taken.

In the facts of this case as detailed above, in my view plaintiff has succeeded in making a, prima facie, case in its favour. Plaintiff has exclusive copyright over the film "Speedy Singhs" which is yet to be released. In case, CDs/ DVDs/Blue-ray discs/VCDs are made and the film is copied by using any other device and uploaded on internet by the defendants and other unidentified persons and distributed and shown on cable TV, DTH, internet, MMS, Tapes and CAS, plaintiff will indubitably suffer irreparable loss and injury.

For the forgoing reasons, defendants, their partners, proprietors, directors, shareholder, officers, servants and agents, their representatives, franchisees, nominees and other known and unknown parties are restrained from in any way communicating without license or displaying, releasing, showing uploading, downloading, exhibiting, playing, defraying the movie "Speedy Singhs" in any manner without a proper license from the plaintiff or in any other manner which would violate/infringe the plaintiff's copyright in the said cinematograph film Speedy Singhs through different mediums like CD, DVD, Blue-ray, VCD, Cable TV, DTH, Internet services, MMS, Tapes, Conditional Access System
or in any other like manner. Plaintiff is permitted to publish the "John Doe" injunction order passed today in the local newspapers so as to make all the concerned aware of this order. Further, Station House Officer(s) of the concerned police station(s) are directed to render necessary assistance to the plaintiff should any be required for purposes of
enforcement of the present order.

Compliance of Order 39 Rule 3 be made within a week. Copy of the order be given Dasti under the signatures of the Court Master.
September 21, 2011

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