The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed mobile messaging platform Telegram to disclose details such as the internet protocol addresses, mobile numbers and devices used to operate channels involved in copyright infringement cases, Bar and Bench reported.

The court was hearing a suit filed by a teacher, Neetu Singh, against Telegram and unknown persons. Singh, in her petition, said that videos of her lectures and books on competitive exams are frequently uploaded on Telegram. Students access the material at discounted rates, she added.

Taking note of her submissions, Judge Pratibha M Singh said that copyright infringement is a serious matter, Bar and Bench reported.

“…the infringement has to be nipped in the bud…The court cannot perpetually supervise such infringements and, thus, the origin and source of the infringing material has to be traced and such devices or persons involved in the infringement ought to face consequences in accordance with law, including being held liable for damages,” the judge ordered.

Telegram argued that it cannot disclose user information as that would violate its privacy policy and the laws Singapore, where the messaging service’s physical servers are located.

Singh said that if this argument was accepted at a time when most information is shared through online messaging services, “intellectual property violations would go completely unchecked”.

The judge further stated that just because Telegram does not have servers in India, it cannot divest the Indian courts from dealing with copyright issues.

The court also said that Telegram’s compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act, 2012 – Singapore’s local law – cannot be the reason to not share user information.

The court noted that the screenshots and other evidence shared by the plaintiff leave no doubt that the channels operating on Telegram are using Singh’s works for monetary gains, Bar and Bench reported.

“The infringing channels are also so brazen that they use the names of the plaintiffs, such as KD Publications and Neetu Singh in the channel titles without any hesitation,” the court added.