The Case of Stolen Audio Tapes and an Arnab Goswami

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Facts

Times Now have filed a complaint against the Arnab Goswami for misusing the intellectual property of Ties Now. Arnab Goswami’s  Republic TV had broadcasted a super-exclusive program on Sunanda Pushkar’s murder case. The Times Now, who was his previous employer, alleged that Arnab Goswami had procured and used the audio tapes of Sunanda Pushkar’s murder case and Lalu Prasad controversy which was with the Times Now and had played it in his Republic TV’s debate show.

In the audio tapes, a conversation between the ex-journalist of Times Now, Prem Sridevi and Sunanda Pushkar and her domestic aid Narayan was recorded. It was the argument of Times Now that these audio tapes were accessed by Arnab Goswami during his employment with Times Now. The BCCI also said that the tapes were recorded before the resignation of Arnab Goswami from the Times Now Group. The petitioners also made an allegation that Goswami was purposefully withholding the broadcasting of the tape while in employment with the Times Now so that he can now earn more fame and kickstart his career with Republic TV.

Issues

The suit was filed on criminal grounds alleging breach of employment contract and misusing of intellectual property rights of Times Now.

Judgment

The court observed that the Times Now group had failed to give substantial evidence that they had owned the intellectual property rights on the audio tape. But, the question that was of most importance was whether Arnab Goswami had indulged in the infringement of the intellectual property rights of the Times Now Group.

The court in its order stated:

It is well settled law that an employee has to maintain confidentiality and utmost fidelity towards his employer. Accordingly, the defendants can be restrained from breaching the contract — reproducing or misusing the confidential information of the plaintiff and using or telecasting the same as that would amount to infringement of the plaintiff ’s rights.” 

The case, having been filed in Delhi High Court, the court have issued an order to the defendants – Arnab Goswami and others – to submit written statements and to appear for the hearing. The Republic TV has been alleged to have broadcasted stolen audio tapes from Times Now Group.

Learning Outcome

Thus, it is important to note that the employees shall not vitiate their employment contract by taking out the information and sources from their previous employer maintained during their employment with him.

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