New Delhi: In a major relief to reality show Bigg Boss' broadcast reproduction rights owner, Viacom-18, the Delhi High Court has restrained illegal broadcasters of the reality show from streaming the show on their platforms.
Namely, the domains where the previous and present programmes of Bigg Boss were being made available through the 'Video-on-Demand' arrangement were 'Biggbos.live', 'Bigg-boss.in', 'Bigg-boss17.com', 'Biggboss17online.com' and
The illegal streaming of the show by these domains was causing huge losses to Viacom-18, along with gross violation of its copyrights, and therefore an injunction was necessitated in the matter, Viacom-18 submitted before the bench of Justice Prathiba Singh.
Viacom-18 also told Court that the domains were also already advertising the availability of yet-to-be-released seasons of Bigg Boss.
Viacom-18 had obtained the format rights from M/s Endemol Shine IP BV, which owns the format of the show. Viacom-18's rights were recognized vide agreement dated 17th August, 2020 for Bigg Boss Hindi, seasons 17 and 18.
The show itself has been produced and broadcasted in India since 2008. The said programme has had 16 seasons in Hindi language and season 17 of Bigg Boss Hindi is expected to be launched on 15th October, 2023.
The show has also been produced and telecasted in two regional languages Kannada and Marathi.
Endemol Shine IP BV has given the
exclusive license of the format to the Plaintiff for Bigg Boss Hindi seasons 17 and 18, scheduled to be broadcasted from 15th October, 2023 and Bigg Boss Kannada Seasons 10 to 12 to be broadcasted from 8th October, 2023 as also Bigg Boss Marathi seasons 5 to 8.
Viacom-18 broadcasts these programmes on the television channels 'Colors' and 'Colors Kannada' as also on its OTT platform ‘JioCinema’.
Taking note of the submissions, the Court reasoned, "The Bigg Boss programme enjoys enormous popularity even in India and the unauthorized and illegal dissemination of the Bigg Boss programmes, irrespective of past and future seasons, would be clear infringement of the Plaintiff’s (Viacom-18's) copyright of broadcast and reproduction rights."
It then proceeded to grant an ex-parte injunction against illegal streaming of the show ‘Bigg Boss’.
The bench said that if illegal websites were permitted to mushroom, it would not only harm the subscription base of Viacom-18 but also boost piracy in the country.
Therefore, the bench restrained the domains in the present case, as well as those that may come to the notice of Viacom-18 in future from broadcasting, telecasting, streaming, retransmitting and hosting any ‘Bigg Boss’ episode (past or future).
The Defendant-websites and their domain names were also directed to be suspended and/or blocked.