New Delhi: The owners of India Today and Aaj Tak channels, TV Today Network, have filed a copyright suit against the Indian media watchdog Newslaundry Media Pvt Ltd.
The media group has sought damages of Rs 2,00,00,100 from Newslaundry’s co-founder Abhinandan Sekhri, Director Prashant Sareen, Director Roopak Kappor, Executive Editor Manisha Pande, Correspondent Ayush Tiwari, Columnist Hridayesh Joshi and Executive Editors Atul Chaurasia and Raman Kirpal for commercially disparaging its commercial products and for defaming it, the networks news anchors, management and employees. It further stated that Newslaundry has created an impression among the public that TV Today Network and its publications are involved in broadcasting and publishing fake news and spreading communal disharmony in the public.
The suit alleged that Newslaundry has also resorted to infringing the copyrights of the TV Today Network and have published various videos and articles containing false, malicious, defamatory and derogatory information on their website as well as on various social media platforms. In these videos and articles, the Newslaundry consistently denigrates, deprecates, ridicules and derogate the news broadcasts of the media group’s news channels as well as the anchors who have hosted such news broadcasts. The suit stated that these false and defamatory statements published by the Newslaundry have lowered the reputation of TV Today Network in the public and have caused defamation to the media group, its news channels, its anchors, its employees and management and have also seriously caused prejudice to their commercial reputation and goodwill.
The suit further claimed that the Newslaundry website and social media handles have reproduced/published various portions of original works and telecasts from the media group’s News Channels namely India Today, Aaj Tak and Good News Today.
According to the suit, the Newslaundry has used commercial products consisting of original cinematograph films and sound recordings of TV Today Network and they haven’t approached the media group seeking their consent to use copyrighted material. The use of such material by the Defendants is, therefore, an infringement of the copyright of the media group under the Copyright Act, 1957.
The Newslaundry team besides infringing the exclusive rights of TV Today Network under the Copyright Act, 1957 are also liable for defaming the news anchors of the media group and its management. The Defendants in the videos and articles published by them consistently denigrate, defame and ridicule the news anchors of the Plaintiff company and its management, stated the suit filed by the TV Today Network. The suit alleged that the Newslaundry team is making a commercial gain on the basis of such denigration, defamation and ridicule by asking the viewers to take paid subscriptions.
Newslaundry was founded in 2012 by Abhinandan Sekhri, Madhu Trehan and Prashant Sareen. It was India’s first subscription-driven website when launched and solely relies on public subscriptions, instead of advertisements, for revenue.