Telegram has been directed by the Delhi High court to disclose details of channels on the messaging app that were involved in sharing content in violation of copyright law, in a sealed cover within two weeks, according to a report. The High Court reportedly directed the messaging service to provide details of the channel operators, including their mobile numbers and IP addresses, while observing that an entity could not use the defence of the right to privacy and right to free speech to escape consequences of legal actions.
Observing that the plaintiffs would be rendered remediless to recover damages for the “illegal” sharing of teaching materials on Telegram under “masked” identities if the channel operators’ identites were not disclosed, the Delhi High Court directed Telegram to provide details of the operators, according to a report by PTI.
As per the report, Justice Prathiba M Singh also noted that the messaging platform’s reliance on the right to freedom of speech and right to privacy was “completely inapposite” in the facts and circumstances of the case, as per the report.
While Telegram had submitted that it was not obliged to disclose the details of users as it was an intermediary under the IT Act, the court observed that the provisions of the Act did not obviate Telegram’s duty to take all effective steps to protect intellectual property rights.
The court also stated that disabling or taking down content was not enough to tackle the channels, due to the “mushrooming” of these channels on the messaging service, which has servers located in Singapore.