But this latest case appears to be the first time that Telegram has been ordered by a court to disclose user data specifically related to copyright infringement anywhere, and the first time an Indian court has ordered any app to disclose data related to copyright infringement.
The Delhi High Court directed the Dubai-headquartered firm to submit the details, such as mobile numbers, IP addresses and email IDs used for uploading infringing content while hearing a lawsuit filed by a teacher against the messaging app and people involved in sharing her copyrighted study material.
However, the court has responded to the argument and said that copyright owners couldn’t be left “completely remediless against the actual infringers” because Telegram has chosen to locate its servers in Singapore.
Telegram didn’t respond to a request for a comment on the order.
In the filing with the court, the complainant named Neetu Singh submitted a list of channels circulating her lectures and books on competitive exams. The channels were selling the content at discounted prices, the complainant said.
“If there are any further list[s] of infringing channels, the same [must] be also submitted to Telegram within one week. The data relating to the infringing channels and the details as to the devices/servers/networks on which they are created, their creators, operators including any phone numbers, IP addresses, email addresses, used for this purpose shall be disclosed by Telegram within a period of two weeks thereafter,” the 51-page order (PDF) said.
Telegram, which counts India as its largest market, amassed over 700 million users in June. At the time, it also launched a premium tier to monetize its growth against the likes of WhatsApp and Signal.