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Judiciary

Delhi HC Seeks Responses from Meta and Backgrid USA on TV Today's Suit Over Harper's Bazaar India Instagram Suspension

By Jhanak Singh      23 May, 2024 04:04 PM      0 Comments
Delhi HC Seeks Responses from Meta and Backgrid USA on TV Todays Suit Over Harpers Bazaar India Instagram Suspension

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought responses from Meta and US-based celebrity news agency Backgrid USA regarding a suit filed by TV Today seeking the restoration of Harper's Bazaar India's Instagram page.

Justice Anish Dayal issued notice and scheduled the next hearing for July 9. 

However, the Court stated that it could not issue ad hoc directions in the case.

"We can’t pass an ad hoc order in this matter. We do not want to tread on the legal right in an ad hoc manner," the Court said.

The Court also noted that Harper's Bazaar cannot claim complete innocence in the matter.

"You cannot say you have not committed any sin. You can say I did not know it was a sin."

Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah, representing Harper’s Bazaar, informed the Court that their Instagram page has nearly 7,000 posts, of which only three were found to be infringing, yet the entire account was suspended.

Baruah mentioned that they had attempted to negotiate with Backgrid to withdraw their copyright strikes, but Backgrid demanded "extortionist prices" for the photographs.

Advocate Tejas Karia, representing Meta, argued that the action against Harper’s Bazaar was in accordance with the IT Rules and Meta’s policy. Karia stated that notices were issued to Harper’s Bazaar before their account was taken down.

“There is clear provision in the IT Rules for take down of the handles in case of copyright violation. Rule 3(1) says due diligence by the intermediary and an intermediary has the right to remove the copyrighted content. I have right under the Rules to terminate his account which I have exercised,” he said.

Backgrid had made three copyright strikes against Harper's Bazaar India for allegedly using fifteen Halloween pictures without authorization.

After the Harper's Bazaar India Instagram page was suspended due to these strikes, TV Today initially filed a plea against Meta (which owns Instagram) before the High Court.

The High Court advised TV Today to approach the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) constituted under the Information Technology Rules for relief.

The GAC upheld Meta's decision to suspend the Harper's Bazaar India Instagram page.

Following this, TV Today filed a case against Backgrid before the Delhi High Court.

On May 21, the Court was informed that Harper’s Bazaar had sourced fifteen photographs from fan pages and posted them on their platform, leading to a copyright strike by Backgrid, which resulted in the page's suspension.

TV Today argued that the use of the photographs constitutes fair use, but Backgrid demanded nearly USD 2,000 for each picture to revoke their strikes, even though they charge much less for normal use.

[Case Title: TV Today Network Limited & Anr v Backgrid USA Inc & Ors].



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