Bengaluru-based social media platform Sharechat on Friday said that T-Series and Lahari Recording Company's (Lahari Music) allegations of copyright infringement are "intimidation" tactics and that it is compliant with all prevailing copyright laws.
Lahari Music, a music label that produces music tracks for South Indian movies said in an FIR yesterday that Sharechat violated copyright laws by allowing users to download copyrighted content directly on its platform. The FIR was filed in Yeshwantpur police station in Bengaluru.
The record label also accused Sharechat of not taking prior consent before uploading copyrighted content to the platform that has over 60 million users. Following the FIR, Bengaluru police also raided Sharechat office premises, an Economic Times report said.
The social media startup was booked under Section 63 of Indian Copyrights Act, 1957 along with Section 102 of Indian Trademarks Act, 1999. In addition, a statement from T-Series--Lahari Music's partner--said that it also approached the Delhi High Court (HC) and filed a copyright infringement case against Sharechat.
T-Series added in its statement on Friday that the Delhi HC also passed an injunction order against Sharechat after hearing arguments from both parties involved. However, Sharechat has termed T-Series' press statement as false and inaccurate.
"There are a number of factual inaccuracies in the press release being released by T-series. These include the issue of injunction by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court “after hearing both parties". The order passed by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court was passed ex-parte and ad-interim," Sharechat said in a statement responding to Mint's queries.
Apart from this, tech industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) also expressed concerns about T-Series's actions.
"The FIR filed by the Bengaluru Police against ShareChat and its board of directors for an alleged copyright violation is prima facie of an act overreach...The usual process in such cases of alleged copyright violation is “notice and takedown" mechanism as stipulated under the IT Act (Amended) 2008. As per the provisions, digital intermediaries must first be given proper notice about any violative content and is expected to act only after receiving such notice," IAMAI said in a statement on Friday.
Neeraj Kalyan, President, T-Series Digital and Legal, accused ShareChat of "being a habitual offender".
The social media startup had earlier faced legal tussle with TikTok after several Sharechat users were found uploading TikTok videos on the platform. Sharechat was then forced to remove several videos originating from TikTok users in 2019, as the Chinese social media app said it holds exclusive copyright of content created by TikTok users.
"(Sharechat) still continues to infringe our copyrights and are in contempt of court order. Copyright is an exclusive right under the Indian law and tech companies with loads of foreign institutional funding are only focused on increasing their valuation while disregarding the copyrights with impunity. T-Series follows a policy of zero-tolerance against infringement and we completely support this action by Lahari Recording Company," Kalyan of T-Series added in a statement.
After Kalyan's statement was issued to the media, Sharechat came down vehemently on both music labels terming the legal as an "intimidation" tactic.
"In addition, the (T-Series) press release also wrongly states that ShareChat is a habitual offender and in contempt of court orders. ShareChat is merely an intermediary and is fully in compliance with all Indian laws as well as orders passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court. The legal proceedings by T-series and Lahari, in a concerted manner, are only to intimidate the ShareChat and other intermediaries of similar nature," added Sharechat in a statement.