New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed internet giant Google LLC to block or take down from YouTube certain “defamatory” videos, which targeted major brands including ‘Catch’ by alleging that Indian spices contain urine and cow dung, in case they resurface.
The high court said it was convinced that the creation and uploading of such videos by the defendants is a “deliberate attempt to defame and disparage” the plaintiff’s goods bearing the ‘Catch’ mark.
“A perusal of the comments to said YouTube videos show that members of the public are being influenced and led into believing such false statements, causing grave prejudice to Plaintiff (Dharampal Satyapal Sons Pvt Ltd). Considering the easy and unrestricted access, there is a high probability that the defamatory videos could be shared/seen by a large number of unsuspecting members of the public,” Justice Sanjeev Narula said.
The two defendants who had allegedly uploaded the videos were proceeded ex parte by the court since they did not join the hearings.
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The court was informed by the counsel for Google that following its earlier directions, action was taken, and the three videos were no longer available for viewing.
The high court said the two defendant channels – TYR and Views NNews — maliciously uploaded the videos containing derogatory and untrue remarks against Indian spices, particularly those sold under the plaintiff’s ‘Catch’ brand.
“Their malafide is further manifested by their inaction in removing the infringing content from YouTube after the plaintiff had raised a complaint, which was duly acknowledged by defendant no. 2,” it said.
The high court’s order came on a suit by the plaintiff seeking a permanent injunction restraining defamation and disparagement of its products manufactured and sold under their registered trademark ‘CATCH.’ The company said it has numerous customers and its spices have exquisite flavours and aromas, and maintains the highest standards of quality and hygiene, and conducts routine quality checks of its products.
It approached the court after coming to know about the videos claiming that all Indian spices contain cow urine and cow dung, and they targeted major brands trading in spices, including its brand.
The plaintiff said the videos were shown with a voice-over running defamatory and disparaging statements about its products.
The high court decreed the suit in favour of the plaintiff and against the two defendant channels and said the videos contain defamatory remarks against the plaintiff’s products without any basis.
“Plaintiff has placed on record a list of ingredients contained in their products/spices advertised in the impugned videos. They have obtained certifications from all concerned regulatory bodies and have even presented reports of an independent food analysis from a certified laboratory, which do not indicate the presence of cow dung, cow urine or any other contaminants, as alleged in the impugned videos,” it said.
It added that there is no authoritative material or underlying reason or assumption for the two defendants to make false claims and disseminate fallacious information under the garb of revealing the ‘truth/ facts about Indian spices.’ “It is directed that in the event the impugned videos 1, 2 and 3 resurface on defendant no. 1’s YouTube platform, the plaintiff shall be at liberty to supply the concerned URLs to defendant No. 1 (Google LLC), who shall take appropriate action to block/ take down the same, in accordance with the law.
“However, in case defendant No. 1 comes to the conclusion that the content is not identical to the impugned videos which have been injuncted, they shall inform the plaintiff of the same, within a period of one week from the date of receipt of the request, whereafter plaintiff shall be free to take recourse to appropriate measures available under law,” the court said.