Delhi HC Orders Meta, Backgrid To File Reply in TV Today’s Plea For Instagram Account Restoration

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TV Today petitioned the court for the reinstatement of the Instagram account of its magazine, Harper’s Bazaar India (bazaarindia), arguing that with only 3 out of 7,000 posts flagged for copyright infringement

The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, directed Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and Backgrid to file a response in TV Today’s plea to reinstate the Instagram page of Harper’s Bazaar India. Represented by Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah, Harper Bazaar informed the court that their Instagram account, with nearly 7,000 posts, was suspended despite only three posts being flagged for copyright infringement.

Justice Anish Dayal, presiding over the case, asserted that the court could not issue ad hoc directives in this matter. The procedural integrity had to be maintained, and due process followed, he added.

Advocate Baruah further explained that negotiations had been initiated with Backgrid to retract their copyright strikes. However, these efforts were thwarted when Backgrid demanded exorbitant fees for the disputed photographs. 

Furthermore, Advocate Tejas Karia, representing Meta, countered these claims by arguing that the actions taken against Harper’s Bazaar were in strict adherence to the IT Rules and Meta’s policies. Karia emphasized that Harper’s Bazaar had been duly notified prior to the suspension of their account.

Elaborating on the regulatory framework, Advocate Karia stated that the IT Rules clearly provide for the removal of accounts in cases of copyright violations. Rule 3(1) stipulates that intermediaries must exercise due diligence, including the right to remove infringing content.

The crux of the issue lay in the actions of Backgrid, which issued three copyright strikes against Harper's Bazaar India. They accused the magazine of unauthorized use of fifteen Halloween photographs, leading to the suspension of the Instagram page. This move prompted TV Today to initially file a plea against Meta, the owner of Instagram, before the High Court.

During the hearing, the court directed TV Today to seek redress from the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC), constituted under the Information Technology Rules. The GAC subsequently reviewed the case and upheld Meta's decision to suspend the Harper's Bazaar India Instagram page.

Case Title: TV Today Network Limited & Anr v Backgrid USA Inc & Ors.