The challenge of disseminating educational material digitally
Plaintiff, M/s Jainemo Private Limited ( Jainemo), a company that prepares and sells educational material and vocational courses, including courses on coding, computer programming, website development, etc. ‘Jainemo’ has been imparting its business through its website, www.apnacollege.in, accessed by many persons who wish to avail of courses disseminated and taught by ‘Jainemo.’ Jainemo offers course material named ALPHA, DELTA, and ALPHA PLUS. The study material is in the form of recorded videos, live sessions, recording of live sessions, assignment questions, reading material, question banks, etc. Access to the courses is provided through the website www.apnacollege.in, wherein a dashboard is created, and upon a student or a candidate paying the requisite fee, the course material is made available on the dashboard. As per Jainemo, its course material is not downloadable, and it is only by using circumvention tools or any other software to de-encrypt or access the course material that the course material videos become downloadable.
The grievance of Jainemo:- Many known and unknown individuals/entities (infringers) have started disseminating Jainemo’s courses, including printed course materials, videos, etc., on platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and YouTube. The unknown infringers were also found to be:
- using digital platforms to seek enrolment of students into batches;
- Infringers were also collecting fees ranging from Rs.500/- to Rs.1000/- to include students on the WhatsApp, Telegram groups;
- Making available Jainemo’s courses to unwary students who were being enrolled through a Google Form;
- Create duplicate or alternative channels to continue disseminating Jainemo’s copyrighted material even after the original channels are taken down.
- Jainemo’s course material were also made available by uploading it on Google Drive and other online drives.
Order passed by the Court:- The Court examined the merits of Jainemo’s claim, perused the copyrighted material and infringing materials, and thereafter passed a restraining order against the infringers, social media platforms, and You Tube. The Court passed the following restraining order:-
- Infringers are restrained from downloading, uploading, storing, sharing, transmitting, selling, offering for sale, storing, or utilizing any of the course material of ‘Jainemo’ on any electronic platforms, digital platforms, including Telegram channels, WhatsApp groups, YouTube, Google Drive, Mega or any other multimedia messaging or social media platforms or file sharing websites or cloud storage platforms;
- Digital platforms, including YouTube were directed to block the infringing channels;
- Website registrants were directed to provide the details of the owners of the infringing domain names;
Relevant observation of the Court:-
“The challenge on digital platforms is that the copying and reproduction of these course material is made quite easy. The Court has perused the record and it is seen that each of the groups/channels on the platforms have hundreds of subscribers. The Defendants are also collecting large sums of money to freely distribute the copyrighted material of the Plaintiff. In fact, some of the documents on record would show that these Defendants are enticing students and candidates to subscribe to their channels, if they do not wish to pay the fee of the Plaintiff.”