LiveMint reports that GoDaddy, a global domain name registrar, is to be sued by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and one of its group firms, DotEx International Ltd., for alleged copyright and trademark infringement. It appears that the suit is based on the allegation that Manshi Systems, a Hyderabad based technology firm that was providing access to the NSE’s databases and real time trading platforms called NOW by its own software. GoDaddy was the webhosting company that hosted Manshi Systems’ website.
The plaint alleges that the suit was filed for “wrongful acts of infringement of copyright in computer database, wrongful use of primary data, and compilation of database and trademark infringement…” The report goes on to state that DotEx International “converts raw market data into various statistical formats for trade analysis and execution of trades on NOW.” It also has a database that offers its subscribers various services like calculators, security information etc. that are derived from the NSE. The site has hence been pulled down by GoDaddy which is the world’s largest domain name register in the world with about 57 million domain names.
The claim against Manshi Systems will succeed, at least in part to the extent where the infringement of a database is pleaded. Using one’s own software to communicate to the public would definitely amount to an infringement under S.51 of the Act. However, the claim for wrongful use of “primary data” appears weak. This to me seems like a claim to protect the real time information that the NSE provides, which is often extremely valuable. This would amount to a “hot news” like claim which is unlikely to succeed unless direct competition and passing off are proved (for an analysis of a similar fact situation, read here).
This also seems like the perfect opportunity to challenge the constitutional validity of the intermediary guidelines. These guidelines, although are an impressive attempt to clarify the law regarding intermediary liability and due diligence, suffer from a significant number of deficiencies like vague definitions, harsh take down procedures and major conflicts with Art.19(1)(a) of the Constitution (read here and here).
This would be an interesting dispute to observe as it deals with crucial questions of the interfaces between IP and Technology Law and will probably be of precedent setting value.
4 thoughts on “GoDaddy to be Sued as an Intermediary for Copyright and Trademark Infringement”
The way Manshi would have used the NOW software has to be understood clearly. If manshi used the software to populate primary data in its own database, then NSE will not be able to get even the database infringement. The bigger issue from the outcome of this case will be on the ownership and use of primary data. This is similar to the cricket scores case between Star and Cricinfo.
Yes Rythm, if the software was used to populate primary data then the protection will not be applicable. Probably an action under the torts of unfair competition or unjust enrichment would be a remedy that the NSE has. I had made the comparison to a STAR case regarding cricket scores in the post (https://spicyipweb.wpcomstaging.com/2014/01/guest-post-dow-jones-and-msm-resurrect-the-hot-news-doctrine.html) which I had hyperlinked in this post. However, I would like to bring your attention to the fact that the dispute is still under appeal at the SC, and with the Single Judge and the DB ruling different ways in the Delhi HC, the decision of the SC will hopefully provide much needed clarity to the law.
The case (STAR v. Akuate) deals with ownership of time sensitive data or information. The question of ownership of primary data in itself, as well as the clarification regarding the law relating to intermediaries will indeed be interesting outcomes of this case.
Thank you for your comment!
One query after reading the article….
Can I use the NSE live data feed(fetched using API) to create a s/w property which analyses the data and forecasts on stock derivatives.
Apologies for the delayed response.
In my opinion, I think NSE might have no copyright claims against you, for using the live data feed, in the form available on the website. This is because, from what I could gather from their website, they add other information to the raw market data into this live feed, that they generate themselves. They would have copyright over this content. If however, you intend to utilise only the live market data (with no added information) and you attribute the NSE to be the source, you will have very limited or no exposure because they cannot claim a copyright or any other allied rights over this. (For a very similar factual scenario read, http://www.ocfblaw.com/___Barclays%20Capital%20v.TheFlyonthewall.com.htm)