Madras High Court Issues John Doe Order For Singam 3

In an effort to mute piracy websites, makers of Si3 (Singam 3) have approached the Madras High Court to issue an order to refrain illegal piracy website from webcast of Si3. Madras High Court today has passed the John Doe order in favor of the petitioner.

A John Doe order is basically a simple ex-parte interim injunction with the added benefit that the Pen Movies & Studio Green are given liberty to add to the array of parties, infringers who have been identified after the filing of the suit. These orders are an exception the general rule which requires the defendant to be identified prior to the filing of a law-suit. The ex-parte interim injunction then applies against even the later defendants. In the original version the ‘John Doe’ order was usually combined with an ‘Anton Piller’ order which used to allow for the seizure of any infringing material. The concept of the ‘John Doe’ order evolved in a setting where it was necessary to operate quickly against ‘fly-by-night’ operators who did not operate out of a fixed location.

In the present case, the order of the Madras High Court is quite broad and although it is targeted primarily at ISPs and rogue websites from unauthorized webcast of Si3 movie and any form of copyright infringement of the movie will be blocked. It also prohibits the infringement of copyright through different mediums such as CDs, DVDs, VCDs, Cable-TV, pen-drives etc. The order can apply to virtually any kind of pirate who after being named in the suit, will also have to deal with the danger of being ‘labelled’ a goonda and packed off to prison under Tamil Nadu’s preventive detention laws.

Regardless, the fact of this judgment and its publication in newspapers across the country will serve to put some fear into the minds of possible video pirates. We must however not forget the larger debate on the liability of intermediaries in such cases