The Telegram Tale: Copyright and Trademark Infringement through Anonymous Piracy

Law School Policy Review, June 2020

6 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2021

See all articles by Abhishek Iyer

Abhishek Iyer

Khaitan & Co.; Gujarat National Law University

Date Written: June 21, 2020


The modern age of internet and online content has left many newspaper publishers devoid of their physical business. To overcome financial hurdles, news publishers have started operating E-papers on a subscription basis. In a peculiar issue before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court, popular news publisher JAGRAN PRAKASHAN LIMITED [Hereinafter ‘Plaintiff’], found their E-paper being widely circulated online, through messaging platform TELEGRAM [Hereinafter ‘Defendant’]. In the present case, PDF copies of the Plaintiff’s e-paper were made freely available through chat/channel groups on defendant’s messaging platform, which was otherwise accessible only to the plaintiff’s website subscribers. Despite serving multiple notices and a plaint highlighting this violation, the defendant failed to curb this illegal circulation on its messaging platform.

To have a holistic understanding of intermediary liability in India and the build up to this court order, there are two important aspects, Firstly, absolving the intermediary of all liabilities and, holding the chat administrators individually liable for the violation of IPR. In this scenario, we have to note how encryption of data provides a safe environment for third party to chat/share and, the privacy aspect of such third party if at all the chats are openly traced. Further, in a situation where the alleged violators are anonymous, the John Doe Order method of injunction is relevant to be understood. Lastly, the current situation of intermediary liability in India does not exhaustively mention about the consequences for violations caused by a third party when the intermediary is openly promoting his platform without any filter or check on the type of content being shared. Hence, it is relevant to understand the concept of Inducing Infringement and the concept of Contributory/Vicarious Liability on the intermediary which has evolved from the United States as a leading example to safeguard IPR owners.

Keywords: Telegram case IPR, LSPR

Suggested Citation

Iyer, Abhishek, The Telegram Tale: Copyright and Trademark Infringement through Anonymous Piracy (June 21, 2020). Law School Policy Review, June 2020, Available at SSRN:

Abhishek Iyer (Contact Author)

Khaitan & Co. ( email )

Emerald House,
1B, Old Post Office Street,
Kolkata, West Bengal 700001

Gujarat National Law University ( email )

Attalika Avenue
Knowledge Corridor
Koba, 382007

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