Delhi High Court Summons PTI over ANI’s ₹2 Crore Copyright Infringement Claim

The Delhi High Court on Friday summoned the Press Trust of India (PTI) to respond to a lawsuit filed by competitor Asian News International (ANI), alleging copyright infringement and plagiarism. The dispute arises from the use of video footage depicting passengers suffering on a SpiceJet flight due to a malfunctioning air conditioning system during a severe heatwave.

Presiding Justice Mini Pushkarna scheduled the next hearing for August 9, directing PTI to prepare its defense against ANI’s claim that PTI unlawfully copied and distributed ANI’s video footage from the Delhi-Darbhanga SpiceJet flight incident on June 19, 2024.

According to ANI, both the longer and shorter versions of the video, which show the distressing conditions experienced by passengers as the plane remained on the runway, were originally shot by ANI’s journalists. These videos were quickly published by PTI on the same platforms, including X (formerly Twitter), soon after being broadcast on ANI’s feed.

ANI is seeking damages in excess of ₹2 crores and a permanent injunction to prevent PTI from using any of ANI’s original content in the future. Representing ANI, Senior Advocate Chander M Lall and Advocate Sidhant Kumar emphasized the gravity of the infringement, insisting that PTI not only remove the disputed content but also issue formal apologies and clarifications to news outlets that may have unknowingly circulated the plagiarized material.

PTI, represented by Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao, agreed to remove the videos within 24 hours but resisted the demand for an apology, arguing the content was marked as third-party material and dismissing the need for further action.

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The courtroom debate briefly touched upon the possibility of mediation, but this was quickly set aside after strong opposition from ANI’s counsel. The intense back-and-forth highlighted ongoing tensions between the two news giants, reflecting broader issues of copyright and content ownership in the rapidly evolving digital media landscape.

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