Delhi HC restrains unauthorised broadcast of reality TV show ‘Bigg Boss’

The Delhi High Court has restrained unauthorised streaming of reality television show “Bigg Boss” and said mushrooming of websites illegally broadcasting its content would boost piracy.

The court, dealing with a lawsuit filed by Viacom18 Media Private Limited, said the programme enjoys “enormous popularity” and illegal dissemination of its content, irrespective of past and future seasons, would be an infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright over the broadcast and reproduction rights of the show.

The plaintiff told the court that it airs the show in various formats, including in Hindi, on its television channels and OTT platform, but several websites with “Bigg Boss” as their domain name broadcast the programme in an unauthorised and non-licensed manner for viewing, which is going to make a monetary dent on its business.

“Accordingly, the defendant nos.1 to 5 are restrained from broadcasting, telecasting, streaming, retransmitting and hosting any episode of the Bigg Boss programme, which have already been telecast or which are likely to be telecast in the near future,” said Justice Prathiba M Singh in a recent interim order.

“If any further websites with the name Bigg Boss are found by the plaintiff or any other websites which are telecasting illegally the programmes of the plaintiff, an application shall be filed impleading these websites…. The present injunction shall accordingly extend to those websites as well,” the judge added.

The court observed that the plaintiff had made out a prima facie case for ex-parte injunction and it would suffer irreparable loss if the offending websites are not restrained.

“If such mushrooming of websites, which also use the name Bigg Boss, is permitted, it would boost piracy and unauthorised dissemination, causing heavy losses to the plaintiff, which may have obtained the rights in the said event or programme after making considerable investment,” said the court as it directed the authorities concerned to block the infringing websites.

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The court further noted that the plaintiff’s OTT platform, JioCinema, is a subscription-based platform and if the illegal websites are allowed to telecast these programmes in an unauthorised manner, the subscription base is likely to be jeopardised.

Commenting on the court’s decision, Viacom18’s general counsel Anil Lale said, “The issuance of this dynamic injunction order underscores the court’s profound recognition of the inherent value of content and the pressing need to combat piracy in real time. The proactive stance taken by the honourable court provides invaluable support in our continuing fight against piracy.”

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