The Delhi High Court has restrained 160 entities, including websites, cable operators and internet service providers, from illegally broadcasting or communicating to the public in any manner the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia from June 14, without a licence from Sony which has the exclusive right to broadcast the sporting event.

The interim direction by Justice Prathiba M Singh came on a plea moved by Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India Pvt Ltd (Sony) in the high court apprehending that the cable operators and websites may indulge in unauthorised transmission of the event.

Holding that Sony has made out a prima facie case for grant of an interim order, the court also directed the Department of Electronics and Information and Technology (DEIT) and the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to ensure that the internet service providers block the websites, mentioned in the company’s plea, that are likely to illegally broadcast the event.

“Upon receiving intimation that any other websites are also indulging in illegal transmission, Defendants No.161 (DEIT) and 162 (DoT) shall issue directions for blocking of the said websites,” it said.

The FIFA World Cup 2018 opening ceremony is going to be held on the 14th and then the tournament opener is on 15th June, where hosts Russia lock horns with Saudi Arabia.