Centre for Internet & Society

This post by Divij Joshi is part of the 'Studying Internets in India' series. Divij is a final year student at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and is a keen observer and researcher on issues of law, policy and technology. In this essay, he traces the history of the Internet in India through the lens of judicial trends, and looks at how the judiciary has defined its own role in relation to the Internet.



On the 14th of August, 1995, the eve of the 48th anniversary of Indian Independence, India began a new, and wholly unanticipated tryst with destiny - Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) launched India's first full Internet service for public access [1]. In 1998, just a few years after VSNL introduced dial-up Internet, around 0.5% of India’s population had regular Internet access. By 2013, the latest estimate, 15% of the country was connected to the Internet, and the number is growing exponentially [2]. As the influence of the Internet grew, the law and the courts began to take notice. In 1998, there were four mentions of the Internet in the higher judiciary (the High Courts in States and the Supreme Court of India), by 2015, it was referred to in hundreds of judgements and orders of the higher judiciary [3].

The revolutionary capacity of the Internet cannot be understated. It has played a critical part in displacing, creating and enhancing social structures and institutions – from the market, to ideas of community – and its potential still remains unexplored. The Internet has also unsettled legal systems around the world, because of its massive potential to create very new forms of social and legal relationships and paradigms which extant law was unequipped for. The dynamism of the Internet means that legislation and statutory law, being static and rigid, is inherently ill suited for the governance of the Internet, and much of this role is ultimately ceded to the judiciary. In a widely unregulated policy background, the role played by this institution in identifying and dealing with the peculiar nature of regulatory issues on the Internet – such as the central role of intermediaries, the challenges of intellectual property rights concerns, the conflicts of law between different jurisdictions, and the courts’ own role in being a regulator – is tremendously important. In this article, an attempt is made to weave a thread through judicial decisions as well as judicial obiter (or peripheral text) regarding the Internet, to explain how the judiciary has captured and defined the Internet and its capacities, potentials and actors, and what effects this has on the Internet and on society. Inter alia, this article examines how judicial disputes have shaped internet policy in India.


The Internet and the Role of the Courts

The relationship between the law and technology is reminiscent of the famous paradox posed by the greek philosopher Zeno – Achilles and a tortoise agree to race. The tortoise has a head start, and, by the logic of the paradox, Achilles is never able to catch up to him. Every time Achilles covers the distance between himself and the tortoise at any point, the tortoise has moved ahead some distance, which need to be covered once again. As Achilles covers that distance, the tortoise has once again moved a distance away, and so on, to infinite progression, proving that Achilles can never catch up to the tortoise [4].

The legal regulation of the Internet follows a similar path. The Internet was not an immediate concern for law and policy, which meant that its evolution was largely determined in a space free from centralized governmental regulation. By the time parliaments and courts began to understand the implications of Internet regulation, it was apparent that such regulation would be constrained by the very features of the Internet. The core feature of the Internet is decentralization of control, which is necessarily antithetical to creating a centralized legal regulation with. Moreover, the constant mutation in the function and use of the technology renders statutory law incredibly ineffective in being an adequate regulator. Even where legislatures determined a need to step in and draw special regulations for the Internet, they need to be either so broad or vague that they cede much of the regulatory space to interpreters – the courts – or be so specific that much of the regulation quickly becomes obsolete. Most importantly, the final authority to determine matters of constitutional import such as the content and scope of fundamental rights rests with the higher judiciary. In this scenario, the courts become the de facto policy makers for regulating technology. In light of our current political and social context, where the level of legislative debate on issues of public importance and constitutional import is negligible, the judiciary’s analysis of Internet regulation becomes even more important [5].

The judiciary is thus in a unique position to decide Internet policy and governance. The preliminary question is whether there is even a need to talk about the Internet as a special system with distinct policy concerns. The regulation of the Internet is certainly fundamental to the development of knowledge and education in societies, but do its unique features merit a departure from traditional law? The second and connected question is whether the law can actually play a role in determining how the Internet is shaped, i.e. how does technology respond to the law? The architecture of the system that defines the functionality of the Internet – like the TCP/IP protocol – has embodied certain values such as decentralization, autonomy, openness and privacy [6], which have to a large extent underlined the social and ethical implications of the Internet – the way it is used, the way it functions and the way it grows. These were the values explicitly introduced into the systems we use today to communicate and interact on the Internet [7]. However, there is no a priori, fixed nature of the Internet. The form the technologies that make up the Internet take, depend upon its architecture and its design, which are malleable, and to which laws contribute by incentivizing certain values and encumbering others. The legal regulation of the Internet, therefore critically affects the architecture of the system, and promotes and secures certain values.

Recognizing the effect of law upon the architecture of the Internet is critical to any balancing exercise that the judiciary has to conduct when it decides disputes about the Internet. The Internet is a unique public resource, in that its participants are (mostly) private actors pursuing a vareity of goals and interests. The values outlined above emerged in this context, where control was decetnralized and regulation depended to a large extent upon how these disparate parties act. However, the same values also disturb existing structures to control information for legitimate causes - such as protecting intellectual property rights or preventing hate speech. Adjudicating these values, often in the absence of any explicit social or political moral framework (with respect to lack of legislative or constitutional guidance on these values), the judicial responses end up as policy directions that shape the Internet. Seen outside a broader, progressive social context, which takes into account the impact of shaping technologies to reflect values, interests on the Internet are generally adjudicated and enforced as proprietary rights between private actors, which ultimately results in changing the dynamics and relative distribution of control over the technologies that make up the Internet. This proprietory conception of interests on the Internet is highly insular, and tends to undermine the intersts of the public as a stakeholder in the regulation of the Internet. This can play out in many ways – from regulation being overwhelmingly determined according to private interests like restricting new technologies in order to protect intellectual property; or with private actors imputed as the focal point of regulation, and therefore given massive control over the Internet. However, the courts can take a different approach to regulating the Internet. The judiciary, especially the Indian Supreme Court, has a generally activist trend, especially in environmental matters [8]. One of the most elegant principles invoked by the courts for the protection of the common environment, has been the public trust doctrine, which postulates that certain (environmental) resources exist for the public benefit and can only be eroded upon to ensure that they develop in the most beneficial way for the common resources [9]. A commons approach to the Internet would require a comprehensive evaluation of the roles played by different actors across different layers of the Internet and how to regulate them [10], but would be principally similar, in that rules of private property would be constrained by potential spillover effects on intellectual information resources.

As a prelude to examining the judicial analysis of the Internet, it is interesting to examine the judiciary’s own perception of its role in Internet regulation. Courts are constrained in their exercise of power by rules of jurisdiction, which become incredibly convoluted on the Internet. A broad assertion of state power over the net can potentially fragment it, which is an obvious problem. At the same time, state sovereignty and protection of the interests of its citizens and laws has to be balanced with the above concerns [11]. The judiciary in India first attempted to grapple with the problem by exercising ‘universal jurisdiction’ over all actions on the Internet, which allowed the Court to claim jurisdiction over a defendant as long as the website or service could be accessed from within its jurisdiction [12]. This broad-reaching standard was antithetical to the development of a harmonized, unfragmented Internet and created problems of jurisdictional and sovereign conflict. As the implications of such a direction became clear, the court evolved different standards for jurisdiction which were based on whether the Internet service had some connection with the territorial jurisdiction of the court in question. The judiciary began to develop caution in its approach towards exercising personal jurisdiction in Internet cases, first applying the ‘interactivity test’ and then the ‘specific targeting’ standards for questions of jurisdiction [13]. However, the judiciary continues to adhere to a ‘long-arm’ standard for copyright and trademark violations, which allows it to extend its jurisdiction extra-territorially under those laws, through rather specious analogies with pre-internet technologies. For example, in WWE v Reshma [14], the Court explicitly analogized sale of services or goods on the Internet with contracts concluded over the telephone. Although analogies provide a comfortable framework for analysis, they also shield important distinctions between technologies from legal analysis. Problems arising from Internet cases – where many actors across many jurisdictions are involved in varying degrees – are unique to Internet technologies and such analogies ignore these important distinctions. Morever, in all the above cases, the judiciary’s assertions of power over the Internet seems to be restricted only by pragmatic regulatory concerns (such as whether personal obedience of the defendant can be secured) and its evolving understanding of questions of jurisdiction are explicitly linked to changes in the use and perception of the Internet and an understanding of interactivity and communication on the Internet.


The Early Internet and Judicial Perceptions

The Internet crept into the judicial vocabulary in 1996; a year after public access was made available, when the Supreme Court first took cognizance of ‘Internet’ as a means of interlinking countries and gathering information instantaneously [15]. Several other cases in the High Courts also spoke of the ‘Information Highway’ [16] and the various services that companies were offering, which could be availed by individuals on the Internet [17]. This corresponded with the popular understanding of the ‘first wave’ of the Internet, mostly relating to business providing services and information to users on the World Wide Web or as a space for limited personal interaction (such as through email) [18].

Some of the earliest cases where the Courts had the opportunity to examine the nature of the Internet were related to Intellectual Property on the Internet, specifically trademark and copyright in the online world. The Domain Name System, which serve to identify devices accessible on the Internet, was one of the first regulatory challenges on the Internet. Domain name disputes were unprecedented in the analog world of intellectual property, since domain names were uniquely scarce goods due to the limitations of the DNS technology. In India, the Delhi High Court in the case of Yahoo v Akash Arora first took cognizance of regulatory challenges of the DNS system on the Internet, a space which it conceptualized as a large public network of computers, and held that domain names serve the same functions on the Internet as trademarks. This case saw the recognition of the Internet as a separate, regulable space, which the Court defined as “a global collection of computer networks linking millions of public and private computers around the world.” The Court recognized some of the core, democratic features of the Internet: “The Internet is now recognized as an international system, a communication medium that allows anyone from any part of the lobe with access to the Internet to freely exchange information and share data.” In this case, the Court upheld traditional trademark rights in the case of use of domain names. The Court’s first recognition of trademark on the Internet heralded the imputation of proprietary interests on the decentralized, shared network that was the Internet, and was a precursor to the many such cases, which mostly focused on private commercial concerns. Even as the Court understood the importance of the Internet commons, i.e. the information and architecture that makes up the Internet, it chose to ignore concerns of public interest in the openness of those commons, in its balancing of proprietary rights for trademark cases. The commercial significance of the Internet was echoed in the Rediff case, where the Bombay High Court opined that “Undoubtedly the Internet is one of the important features of the Information Revolution. It is increasingly used by commercial organisations to promote themselves and their product and in some cases to buy and sell” [19]. Moreover, in these early cases, the law of the analog age was applied wholesale to the Internet, without examining in-depth the possible differences in principle and approach, providing no precedent for the development of an ‘internet law’ [20]. Overly focussed on the proprietary nature of Internet interests, the conception of the Internet as a non-commercial space for collaboration at a decentralized or an individual level is absent from the judicial vocabulary at this stage.


Private Actors and Public Interest

The Internet permits decentralization in the hands of several private actors, which makes control of information over it so difficult. However, the information and technology that makes up the Internet are also highly centralized at certain nodal points, such as the services which provide the physical infrastructure of the Internet (like ISPs) or intermediaries which create platforms for distribution of information. Since the Internet has no centralized architecture to enable governmental control, these private intermediaries fall squarely in the crosshairs of regulatory concerns, specifically concerning their liability as facilitators of offensive or illegal content and actions. Facebook, Ebay, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube and Google are examples of private actors that have emerged as dominant service providers that host, index or otherwise facilitate access to user-generated content. Other forms of intermediaries, such as software like Napster or torrent databases like The Pirate Bay, are responsible for driving the growth of Internet-based technologies, like new modes of information sharing and communication. These services have emerged as the most important platform for sharing of information and free speech on the Internet. Most of the interaction and communication on the Internet takes place through these intermediaries and therefore they are in a position to control much of the speech that takes place online. The implications of regulating such actors are quite enormous, and its context is unique to the Internet. These private actors now control the bulk of the information that is shared online, and many of them have almost monopolistic control over certain unique forms of information sharing – think Google in the case of search engines. Developing an adequate regulatory mechanism for them is therefore critical to the future of the net. If the laws do not adequately protect their ability to host content without being liable for the same, it is likely that these actors will lean towards collateral censorship of speech beyond that which is prohibited by law, simply to protect against liability. Secondly, such liability would tend to disincentivise the creation of new platforms and services that increase access to knowledge, which have been integral to innovation on the Internet [21]. The issue of intermediary liability at this scale is unique to the Internet. The court has to adequately frame policy considerations which strike at the fundamental nature of the Internet, such as intellectual property and access to information. At the same time, concerns about legal accountability need to also be addressed. The approach that courts have taken towards the role of intermediaries is therefore critical towards any examination of Internet regulation [22].

In India, the first court to explicitly examine the public importance in issues of online intermediary liability was in the context of regulation of pornography, specifically child pornography, which has been a mainstay of regulatory concerns on the Internet. The case prompted legislative action in the form of creating rules to secure intermediary immunity. In this case the Court imputed liability for the listings of certain offensive content upon the owners of the website, Bazzee.com. Hard cases make bad law, and the same was true of this case. Referring to the challenges of regulating content on the Internet, due to the inability of methods to screen and filter such content, the Court held that intermediaries must be strictly liable for all offensive content on their site. The Court held that:

The proliferation of the internet and the possibility of a widespread use through instant transmission of pornographic material, calls for a strict standard having to be insisted upon. Owners or operators of websites that offer space for listings might have to employ content filters if they want to prove that they did not knowingly permit the use of their website for sale of pornographic material…even if for some reason the filters fail, the presumption that the owner of the website had the knowledge that the product being offered for sale was obscene would get attracted.

Intermediaries, therefore, were imputed with the liability of controlling ‘obscene’ speech – a vague and over-broad standard which did not account for the realities of online speech [23]. The above analysis reflects the judiciary’s refusal to take into account the technical concerns on the Internet which ultimately shape its architecture – and the limitations of the judiciary in reflecting upon their own role in policy making on the internet. Ultimately, the decision was overturned by a legislative act, which invoked different standards of liability for intermediaries.

In Consim Info Pvt. Ltd vs Google India Pvt. Ltd [24], the Madras High Court considered “Keyword Advertising” and the liability of search engines and competitors for ‘meta-tags’ that resulted in search engine results which may divert a trademark holder’s traffic. Google’s AdWord programme, which allows purchase of certain ‘keywords’ for the search engine results, and can potentially enable certain forms of trademark infringement, was at issue [25]. Trademarks as AdWords or search terms fulfil and important social utility of information access [26]. However, the Court’s reasoning was conspicuously missing an analysis of the public interest in protecting and promoting search engines, which were important concerns taken into account when these issues were deliberated in other forums [27]. The Court saw this dispute only taking into account private property interests and not public interest considerations, such as the general public benefit of technology which enables new forms of searching and indexing. In fact, an argument by the defendant based on the fundamental right to free (commercial) speech was raised and ignored by the court. The Court therefore ignored the public importance of search engines in favour of protecting proprietary interests which arose in a different context.

Copyright law also has tremendous implications on the Internet. As the Internet became the primary mode for the distribution of different kinds of information and creative content, the very ease of sharing that contributed to its popularity made it prone to violations of copyright, and this created a conflict between the interests of traditional rights holders and the development of the Internet as a means of better sharing of information and knowledge. The problem of holding intermediaries liable for conduct has been compounded in cases where the Court ordered ex-parte ‘John Doe’ orders against unknown defendants likely to be infringing copyright, and imputed the liability for removal of such content on the intermediaries or ISP’s, effectively issuing wide blocking orders without considering their implications or even providing a fair hearing [28]. In RK Productions [29], for instance, when holding that ISPs could be liable for failure to follow blocking orders against infringing content, the Madras High Court described the role of ISPs, such as Airtel and VSNL, as “vessels for others to use their services to infringe third party works.” Once again, the court took a particularly pessimistic view of the Internet’s capabilities, limiting its analysis to the ISP’s function in facilitating infringement and holding that “Without the ISPs, no person would be in a position to access the pirated contents nor would the unknown persons be in a position to upload the pirated version of the film.” In Myspace, the Delhi High Court held that no different standard for secondary infringement (by intermediaries) applied on the Internet, and imputed the same standard as in the 1957 Copyright Act. (In fact, it explicitly compared Myspace to brick and mortar shops selling infringing DVD’s or CD’s) [30]. The Court held that the principles of immunity under the IT Act were overridden by the provisions of the Copyright Act, and then went on to impute a strict standard for intermediaries seeking safe harbor for infringing material, including, inexplicably, that provision of some means to tackle infringement would be sufficient proof of knowledge of actual infringement, and therefore implicating mere passive platforms as infringers. Further, the Court expressly rejected a post-hoc solution for the same, and held that the intermediaries must ensure prior restraint of infringing works to escape liability. The claims that arise in cases of infringement of intellectual property on the Internet, specifically in the liability of intermediaries, are unique, and have unique implications. The inability or refusal of the judiciary to identify claims of freedom of speech and freedom of information of the larger public within the internet commons, in response to broad censorship orders for preventing infringement means that implicitly, policy takes a direction that favours private interests.

An analysis of the above cases shows that important implications of intermediary liability such as the effect on the public’s access to information and the freedom of speech in the context of the Internet did not play a role in the Courts decisions. In particular, the examination of cases above shows that private disputes are now at the forefront of issues of public importance. The Courts have unfortunately taken an insular view of these disputes, adjudicating them as inter-party, without considering the public function that private players on the Internet provide, and how their decisions should factor in these considerations.

However, the recent case of Shreya Singhal v Union of India [31], decided by the Supreme Court this March, hopefully announces a departure from this insular examination of the Internet towards a constitutional analysis, where framing an appropriate public policy for the Internet is at the forefront of the Court’s analysis.


Shreya Singhal and Constitutionalizing the Internet

In March, 2015, the Supreme Court of India struck down the notoriously abused Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which criminalized certain classes of speech, and hopefully heralded a new phase of Internet jurisprudence in India, which imports constitutionalism into matters of cyberspace. Section 66A, premised on the pervasiveness of the Internet, criminalized online speech on vague grounds such as ‘grossly offensive’ or ‘menacing’. The Court’s examination of the nature of the Internet is particularly important. While dismissing a challenge that speech on the Internet should not be treated as distinct from other speech, the Supreme Court opined that “the internet gives any individual a platform which requires very little or no payment through which to air his views”, and by this reasoning concluded that to a limited extent, specific offences could be drawn for online speech. However, this understanding of the features of the Internet – the democratization of knowledge sharing by making it cheap and expansive, was implicit throughout the Court’s judgement, which upheld the idea of the Internet as a ‘marketplace of ideas’ and a space for free and democratic exchange, and struck down the impugned restrictive provisions as unconstitutional, in part because of their vagueness and likelihood to censor legitimate speech, bearing no relation to the constitutional restrictions on free speech under Article 19(2). Moreover, the Court understood the importance of collateral censorship and intermediary safe harbor, although only briefly examined, and read down expansive intermediary liability terms under the IT Rules to include prior judicial review of takedown notices [32].

Hopefully, the Shreya Singhal judgement marks the beginning of constitutional engagement of the judiciary with the Internet. At this moment itself, the Supreme Court is grappling with questions of limitations of online pornography [33]; search engine liability for hate speech [34]; intermediary liability for defamation [35]; and liability for mass surveillance. How the Supreme Court takes cognizance of these cases, how they ultimately proceed, and how they take into account the principles sounded by the Shreya Singhal court, will have a tremendous impact on the internet and society in India.



This article was an attempt to study the Internet in India, and look at the relationship between the judiciary and the Internet. But ‘the Internet’ is not some fixed, immutable space, and any study has to take this into account. The function of the Internet depends upon the values built in to it. These values can be in favor of free speech, or enable censorship. They can protect privacy, or enable mass surveillance. The growth of the Internet as a medium of free speech and expression has been fuelled to a large extent in the spaces free of legal regulation, but the law is perhaps the most important regulator of the Internet, in its ability to use state power to create incentives for certain values, and to change the nature of the Internet. This study, therefore, charted the dynamic relationship between judicial law and other factors responsible for the regulation of the Internet.

For a technology which is so pervasive in our daily lives, and growing in importance day by day, it is surprising that the Supreme Court of India has only recently taken cognizance of constitutional issues on the Internet. While important internet-specific issues have arisen in disputes before the judiciary, judicial examination has generally ignored technical nuances of the new technology, and furthermore ignored the wider implications of framing Internet policy by applying rules that applied in other contexts, such as for copyright or trademark. Without a clear articulation of political and moral bases to guide Internet policy, a clear policy-driven approach to the Internet remains absent, and the regulatory space has been captured by fragmented interest groups without an assessment of larger interests in maintaining the Internet commons, such as allowing peer-based production and sharing of information.

There is, however, reason to be optimistic about the courts and the Internet. The Supreme Courts reaffirmation and identification of the freedom of speech on the Internet in Shreya Singhal, will, hopefully, resonate in the policy decisions of both the courts and legislators, and the internet can be reformulated as a space deserving constitutional scrutiny and protection.



[1] VSNL Starts India's First Internet Service Today, The Indian Technomist, (14th August, 1995), available at http://dxm.org/techonomist/news/vsnlnow.html.

[2] Internet Statistics by Country, International Telecommunication Union, available at http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx.

[3] Source: http://manupatra.com/.

[4] Nick Huggett, Zeno's Paradoxes, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), available at http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/paradox-zeno/.

[5] See: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/a-little-reminder-no-one-in-house-debated-section-66a-congress-brought-it-and-bjp-backed-it/; Publicly available records of Lok Sabha debates also show no mention of this controversial law.

[6] I take values to mean certain desirable goals and methods, which could be both intrinsically good to pursue and whose pursuit allows other instrumental goods to be achieved. See Michael J. Zimmerman, Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), available at http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/value-intrinsic-extrinsic/.

[7] Hellen Nissenbaum, How Computer Systems Embody Values, Computer Magazine, 118, (March 2001), available at https://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/papers/embodyvalues.pdf.

[8] S.P. Sathe, Judicial Activism: The Indian Experience, 6 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, 29, (2001).

[9] M.C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath and Ors., 2000(5) SCALE 69.

[10] Yochai Benkler, From Consumers to Users: Shifting the Deeper Structures of Regulation Toward Sustainable Commons and User Access, 52(3) Federal Communications Law Journal, 561, (2000).

[11] Thomas Shultz, Carving up the Internet: Jurisdiction, Legal Orders, and the Private/Public International Law Interface, 19(4) European Journal Of International Law, 799, (2008); Wendy A. Adams, Intellectual Property Infringement in Global Networks: The Implications of Protection Ahead of the Curve, 10 Int’l J.L. & Info. Tech, 71, (2002).

[12] Casio India Co. Limited v. Ashita Tele Systems Pvt. Limited, 2003 (27) P.T.C. 265 (Del.) (India).

[13] Banyan Tree Holding (P) Ltd. v. A. Murali Krishna Reddy & Anr., CS(OS) 894/2008.

[14] World Wrestling Entertainment v. Reshma Collection (FAO (OS) 506/2013 (Delhi).

[15] Dr. Ashok v. Union of India and Ors., AIR 1997 SC 2298.

[16] Rajan Johnsonbhai Christy vs State Of Gujarat, (1997) 2 GLR 1077.

[17] Union Of India And Ors. Vs. Motion Picture Association And Ors, 1999 (3) SCR 875; Yahoo!, Inc. vs Akash Arora & Anr., 1999 IIAD Delhi 229 – “The Internet provides information about various corporations, products as also on various subjects like educational, entertainment, commercial, government activities and services.”

[18] Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks.

[19] Rediff Communication Limited vs Cyberbooth & Another, 1999 (4) Bom CR 278.

[20] Even when the Supreme Court finally recognized these concerns a few years later, when the Internet had morphed into a massive commercial platform and an important forum for free speech, in the Satyam Infotech case (2004(3)AWC 2366 SC), it discussed the unique problem of domain name identifiers and scarcity of domain names, yet went on to hold that an even higher standard of passing off for trademarks should apply in domain names, disregarding the prior standard of an ‘honest concurrent user’.

[21] Jack Balkin, The Future of Free Expression in a Digital Age, 36 Pepperdine Law Review, (2008)

[22] Id.

[23] Avnish Bajaj v. State (NCT of Delhi), 3 Comp. L.J. 364 (2005).

[24] 2013 (54) PTC 578 (Mad)

[25] The judgement also reveals the predominance of Google’s search engine service. The Court defines the operation of “search engines” as synonymous with Google’s particular service – including adding elements like the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ option as defining elements of search engines.

[26] David J. Franklyn & David A. Hyman, Trademarks As Search Engine Keywords: Much Ado About Something?, 26(2) Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, 540, (2013).

[27] Id.

[28] Reliance Big Entertainment v. Multivision Network and Ors, Delhi High Court, available at http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/resources/john-doe-order-reliance-entertainment-v-multivision-network-and-ors.-movie-singham; Sagarika Music Pvt. Ltd. v. Dishnet Wireless Ltd., C.S. No. 23/2012, G.A. No. 187/2012 (Calcutta High Court Jan. 27, 2012) (order); See Generally, Ananth Padmanabhan, Give Me My Space and Take Down His, 9 Indian Journal of Law and Technology, (2013).

[29] R.K. Productions v. BSNL Ltd and Ors. O.A.No.230 of 2012, Madras High Court.

[30] Super Cassetes Industries Ltd. v. Myspace Inc. and Anr., 2011 (47) P.T.C. 49 (Del.)

[31] Shreya Singhal and Ors. V Union of India and Ors., W.P.(Crl).No. 167 of 2012, Supreme Court, (2015).

[32] The courts refusal to address important questions of intermediary responsibility has also been criticized, see Jyoti Pandey, The Supreme Court Judgment in Shreya Singhal and What It Does for Intermediary Liability in India?, Centre for Internet and Society, available at http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/sc-judgment-in-shreya-singhal-what-it-means-for-intermediary-liability.

[33] See: http://sflc.in/kamlesh-vaswani-v-uoi-w-p-c-no-177-of-2103/.

[34] See: http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/search-engine-and-prenatal-sex-determination.

[35] See: https://indiancaselaws.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/google-india-pvt-ltd-vs-visaka-industries-limited/.


The post is published under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, and copyright is retained by the author.


The views and opinions expressed on this page are those of their individual authors. Unless the opposite is explicitly stated, or unless the opposite may be reasonably inferred, CIS does not subscribe to these views and opinions which belong to their individual authors. CIS does not accept any responsibility, legal or otherwise, for the views and opinions of these individual authors. For an official statement from CIS on a particular issue, please contact us directly.