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Harpers Bazaar India Instagram Page Restored by Delhi High Court Following Copyright Agreement with Backgrid USA

The Delhi High Court has ordered the reinstatement of Harpers Bazaar India’s Instagram page, which had been suspended due to copyright strikes by the US-based celebrity news agency Backgrid USA.

The order was issued by a Division Bench consisting of Justices Vibhu Bakhru and Tara Vitasta Ganju after TV Today Network and Backgrid reached an agreement, with Backgrid expressing no objection to the page being restored. This decision serves as an interim measure, allowing the parties to pursue their claims in ongoing legal proceedings.

The Court’s order came in response to an appeal by TV Today against a prior ruling by a single judge. This earlier decision, issued on May 22, had only issued notices regarding TV Today’s request for interim relief without granting any immediate orders.

The conflict began when Backgrid filed three copyright strikes against Harper’s Bazaar India, alleging unauthorized use of fifteen Halloween photographs. The suspension of the magazine’s Instagram page prompted TV Today to initially seek relief from Meta, the owner of Instagram, through the High Court. The High Court advised TV Today to approach the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) established under the Information Technology Rules. The GAC subsequently upheld Meta’s decision to suspend the page.

As a result, TV Today filed a lawsuit against Backgrid in the Delhi High Court. During a hearing on May 21, it was revealed that Harper’s Bazaar India had sourced the disputed photographs from fan pages. Despite TV Today’s argument that the use of these images constituted fair use, Backgrid demanded nearly US$2,000 per image to lift the copyright strikes, which TV Today claimed was significantly higher than Backgrid’s usual charges.

Representing TV Today in court were Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayyar, along with advocates Hrishikesh Baruah, Anurag Mishra, and Kumar Kshitij. Backgrid was represented by advocates Pravin Anand, Vaishali Mittal, and S Chamola, while Meta was represented by advocates Tejas Karia, Varun Pathak, Amee Rawa, Vibhuti Vasisth, and Tejpal Singh Rathore. The Union of India was represented by Central Government Standing Counsel (CGSC) Nidhi Raman, with advocates Zubin Singh and Yashaswi SK Chocksey.

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