Updated below with case details and how Askme was caught

It’s a cursed beginning for Askme.in, Infomedia18’s newly launched local search service which has been taken offline barely a fortnight after its Beta went live – rival Justdial.com won an injunction against it in the Delhi High Court over intellectual property theft.

OneIndia reports that Justdial has accused Askme of stealing its database of information and contacts of products and services offered in various cities which Justdial spent 14 years in building. Justdial has plans to go global soon with a local search service in N.America.

Askme.in has shut down following the Delhi Court’s order and the site displays a temporary unavailability of service error. Askme.in took a long time in coming and when it finally arrived, the site was a disappointment in its lack of features and a USP. The site indicated it was being powered by Infomedia’s classifieds website YellowPages.co.in and Burrp.com, another Infomedia product.

Interestingly, Askme claimed it had 3 million businesses listed while Justdial has 100,000 SME advertisers (this is from its website and may not be an updated number).

Also do read: Handbook of Copyright Law

Updated: Case Details, How Askme Was Caught

Justdial alleged that Askme.in has copied its ‘unique’ database and offers the reference to a database as a ‘literary work’ in Section 2(o) under Section 14 of the Indian Copyright Act of 1957. The case was heard in the Delhi High Court, which pronounced its judgement on January 29, 2010.

Here is a copy of the court order sent to us by JustDial.

How was Askme.in caught? Apparently there were identical spelling mistakes in the two databases.

The court has restrained Askme from offering any services on the site and appointed two local commissioners to conduct an investigation within the next three days.

Ankur Garg has been appointed for Infomedia’s offices in Mumbai as well as Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City Koparkhairane in Navi Mumbai while advocate Sanjiv Mahajan will search Infomedia’s Delhi office and make an inventory of and take into custody all the copies of commercial/ business directory databases contained in hard disks or computers, CDs, floppy disks and other storage media.

Beyond Porn & Piracy: Online Cases In India

Online legal cases are rocking India and they no longer just about piracy (cricket, for example) or pornography (Rediff against a Pune law student):

Google was accused of hosting ads for prenatal sex determination which is illegal in India by CPI-M leader Brinda Karat. Google was previously in a case against music company T-Series over violation of the latter’s copyright with respect to YouTube videos and has also been embroiled several times for allowing hate communities on its social networking site Orkut.

Google lost two copyright cases in Germany in 2008, over the display of photos as thumbnails in image search results. In 2008, Kolkata based brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, the makers of Scrabulous were taken to court by Hasbro and Mattel for copyright violation.

Ibibo’s online singing competition iSinger was also in a legal case against T-Series.

Yahoo was also in a business tort suit (case no: 1-06-CV-076671)  filed by Sify which has only recently been resolved.

 

Rediff.com won the case petitioned by a law student in Pune for offering access to links to pornographic sites through its search engine.  Some search engines have blocked out pornographic content – Microsoft’s Bing has done that, and Google, Yahoo have a safe search option. Yahoo also made safe search the default search option for its photo sharing community Flickr into Safe Search.

Rediff also filed around ten cases in total at World Intellectual Property Organization, one was for cyber squatting, against a Panama-based firm which was running a website similar to its flagship webmail service Rediffmail.com. Similary, Tata Sons was given ownership of the domain OKTATABYEBYE.com which was set up by MakeMyTrip.

Consim Info (Bharatmatrimony) sued Google, Jeevansathi.com, Shaadi.com and SimplyMarry.com for trademark infringement via sponsored competitive advertisements.

Online travel agency Travelocity India filed an FIR against Amit Taneja, former MD of Desiya and Stuart Crighton, CEO, Cleartrip for alleged criminal breach of trust, data theft, cheating, criminal misappropriation and criminal conspiracy.

Blogger Dr. Nalamothu Venkata Krishna was issued a cease and desist order by the SEBI for his blog StockMarketGuide.in which he used to solicit significant insider information related to stake sale and mergers & acquisitions.

Theatre chain owner Pyramid Saimira promoter PS Saminathan was barred along with 230 other individuals and companies from trading after the stock market scam involving the company.

Related

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