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Delhi HC prevents sscias.com from providing TOI and ET epaper downloads

The Delhi High Court has passed an interim injunction order preventing IAS coaching website sscias.com from providing downloadable copies of the e-papers of the Times of India (TOI) and the Economic Times (ET). It also states that sscias cannot use the logo of the Times Group, citing infringement. Although the order is dated January 16, the development was reported by the Economic Times today.

The court has restrained sscias.com from:

  • using, making available for download, advertising or promoting or using in any other manner the Times Group’s newspapers ET and TOI
  • dealing in any other trademark identical/deceptively similar to those of TOI and ET

The court has also ordered domain registrar GoDaddy to lock down the ownership of the domain name sscias.com within a week, which would be by January 23.

Read the Delhi HC’s full order here. We have reached out to the company for further details and will update the story when we hear from them.

Times Group’s case against sscias.com

The Bennet Coleman & Company Ltd., better known as the Times Group, took sscias.com to court infringing on its registered trademarks, and sought a permanent injunction against the website. The company made out the following case against sscias.com:

  • The website was providing freely downloadable e-papers of the Delhi edition of the Economic Times and the Times of India on their websites before 6 am. (BCCL is the registered proprietor of the trademarks of TOI and ET under the Trade Marks Act, with circulation of 39 crores and 6 lakh respectively in 2017-18. It is worth noting that the Times of India is the largest circulated English daily newspaper in the country.)
  • The website also displays the logo of the Times Group on their website
  • Times Group alleged that the website was gaining commercial benefit by placing advertisements on the website, and thus “earning unlawful revenues”

The Times Group reasoned that the above behavior was harmful to its business, since it provides the trademarked newspapers for circulation through an unauthorized party. This, the group said, would also “cause huge monetary losses” too because it leads to a fall in sales of the physical copies of the newspapers, a fall in traffic on the e-paper and regular sites of TOI and ET, and reduction in the opportunity for ads.

The court said that sscias’ is a prime facie case of infringement and said irreparable harm can be caused to BCCL if an interim order is not passed.

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sscias.com provides copies of other newspapers

The website has already discontinued uploading the copies of TOI and ET, and shows the following notification:

SSCIAS appears to be a website providing material for Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) examination preparation. Although it no longer uploads copies of newspapers belonging to the Times Group, it still provides PDFs of the Delhi edition of The Indian Express and Chandigarh edition of The Tribune.

Also available are soft copies of Hindi language newspapers like Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, Jansatta, Haribhoomi, and Marathi newspaper Loksatta. The website also provides soft copies of magazines such as India Today, Outlook English, Mathematics Today, Physics For You, Chemistry Today, etc. By providing trademarked content on its own site, SSCIAS may be violating the copyrights of these companies.

At present, on the website, one can:

– access TOI’s old editions for free (after registration) from November 2017 to now. Any content from on/before October 2017 is not available.
– access Indian Express archives from December 2012 until now. Can download pdf clips of individual news articles and download the full newspaper in pdf.
– In case of TOI, full pdfs or pages/entire paper is not available.

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