New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Tuesday issued a stay order preventing e-Eighteen.com Ltd from publishing a column that HT Media Ltd claimed was written by its journalists and originally appeared on 3 October in Mint and its website www.livemint.com.
The ex parte stay order, granted in the absence of e-Eighteen.com, came after HT Media filed a suit for infringement of copyright on 8 October. In the suit, HT Media, which publishes Mint, said that a Mark To Market column titled “Sensex 2007=Nasdaq 1998” and written by staff columnists Manas Chakravarty and Mobis Philipose, was copied verbatim and reproduced by e-Eighteen.com on its website www.moneycontrol.com without a licence or formal consent.
HT Media claimed that the reproduction is unauthorized since the copyright of the article vests with it.
A subsequent order passed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Delhi high court states that on reading what was printed by HT Media and e-Eighteen.com, the court was prima facie satisfied that “both the articles are word-for-word same.”
Justice Kaul also stated that if this interim order was not passed, “irretrievable prejudice” would be caused to HT Media and directed e-Eighteen.com to not publish, until the next hearing, any article that is a copy of material appearing on www.livemint.com or Mint. “HT Media will now take steps to serve summons issued by the court on e-Eighteen.com,” said Sai Krishna Rajgopal of Sai Krishna Associates, HT Media’s outside counsel.
e-Eighteen.com has been directed by the court to file its written statements in reply to the allegations made against it by 25 February. Officials at Network 18 Fincap Ltd, the holding company that owns www.moneycontrol.com, which is the official website of CNBC TV18, declined to immediately comment for this story.
“HT Media will not tolerate any infringement of its intellectual property,” said Manoj Bhargava, assistant general manager, legal at HT Media, which also publishes The Hindustan Times, Hindustan and www.hindustantimes.com. “In our suit for infringement of copyright we have prayed for Rs20 lakh in damages to be paid by e-Eighteen.com Ltd.”
In July, HT Media took similar legal action against EXIM India that copied articles from Mint without permission and a similar interim injunction was passed by the Delhi high court. That suit is pending.
Priyanka Mehra contributed to this story.