Red Chillies Entertainments Private Limited’s film ‘Happy New Year’, starring Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan, is set to release in theatres across India on 24th October, 2014.
The production house has recently obtained a John Doe order from the Bombay High Court dated 14th October, 2014 which restrains any person from “telecasting/broadcasting/distributing/putting on the cable TV network/disseminating/reproducing or otherwise making available to the public, the film ‘Happy New Year’” or “from (i) making a copy of the said film, including a photograph of any image forming part thereof, (ii) to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the said film, regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions, (iii) to communicate the film to the public in any manner whatsoever including by way of but not limited to telecasting and/or re telecasting the said film, or even otherwise dealing with the rights in the said film which vest exclusively in the Plaintiff, in any manner whatsoever.” ; the order also restrains others “from communicating or making available or distributing, or duplicating, or displaying, or releasing, or showing, or uploading, or downloading or exhibiting, or playing, and/or defraying the movie “HAPPY NEW YEAR” in any manner without proper license from the Plaintiff or in any other manner which would violate/infringe the Plaintiff’s copyright in the said cinematograph film “HAPPY NEW YEAR” through different mediums like CD, DVD, Blu-ray, VCD, Cable TV, DTH, Internet, MMS, Tapes, Conditional Access System or in any other like manner.”
The plaintiff sought the injunction on the apprehension that pirated copies of the film might be circulated in the market or that the film might be transmitted without permission through cable service operators. The Court while allowing the quia timet suit observed that various High Courts had previously issued similar John Doe orders; in 2003 the first John Doe order was issued in Taj Television v. Rajan Mandal (the case concerning the illegal airing of the football World Cup 2002). Subsequently, the Madras HC had in 2011 issued a John Doe order in Viacom 18 Motion Pictures v. Jyoti Cable Network to prevent piracy of the movie Players and in 2012, the Bombay HC had granted such an order in Viacom 18 Motion Pictures v. Sonali Cable Vision Private Limited.
[We have covered John Doe orders extensively on SpicyIP, the most recent being Delhi HC’s order blocking websites which were illegally broadcasting or infringing FIFA World Cup 2014 content].