WIPO Intellectual Property Handbook: Policy, Law and Use
2.247 The Anton Piller order can undoubtedly constitute an important weapon in the armory
against piracy. Since it is granted on an ex parte basis, however, care needs to be exercised to
ensure that the rights of persons against whom it is granted, and whose actions have not yet been
judged, are adequately protected. Two safeguards, in particular, which have been required by
courts in jurisdictions where it is available, should be noted. First, it will only be granted where it is
essential that the plaintiff should have inspection so that justice can be done between the parties.
In order to meet this criterion, usually a copyright owner will have to prove that there is clear
evidence that the defendants have in their possession incriminating documents or material; that the
circumstances are such that there is a real possibility or grave danger that the incriminating
materials will be destroyed or hidden if the defendant is forewarned; and that the potential or
actual damage to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s alleged wrongdoings is very serious.
2.248 The second safeguard which is often required is proper respect for the defendant’s rights in
the execution of the order. In this respect, it may be required that, in executing the order, a
copyright owner be attended by his lawyer, give the defendant adequate opportunity of considering
the order, and not force entry into the defendant’s premises against his will. Of course, if a
defendant were to refuse entry into his premises, this would cause extremely adverse inferences to
be drawn against him at the subsequent trial.
2.249 In relation to Anton Piller orders, it may finally be noted that the effectiveness of the orders
was brought into question in one case when a defendant, pleading the privilege against
self-incrimination, successfully applied to discharge orders on the ground that they would expose
him to a real risk of prosecution for a criminal offense (Rank Film Distributors Ltd.
 2 All E.R. 76). In order to overcome the effects of this decision, it may
be necessary to pass legislation revoking the privilege against self-incrimination as a basis for
refusing to comply with an Anton Piller order, as was done in the Supreme Court Act of 1981 in the
Discovery Against Third Parties
2.250 In certain common-law jurisdictions it has been decided that an innocent third party, who
becomes caught up in the wrongdoings of another, is liable to furnish a plaintiff with evidence in
his possession relevant to the prosecution of an action by the plaintiff against the wrongdoer. This
decision arose in the English case of Norwich Pharmacal Co.
v. Commissioners of Customs and
( RPC 743,  AC 133) where the plaintiffs, the proprietors of a patent covering a
chemical compound, discovered that various persons were importing the compound into the
country in contravention of their patent, but were unable to establish the identity of these persons.
This information was in the possession of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, since the
importers were required under the customs regulations to fill in a form of entry specifying the name
of the importer and a description of the goods. The customs authorities refused to disclose the
identity of the importers on the ground that the information had been given to them in confidence.
Nevertheless, it was decided that an innocent third party, such as the customs authorities, who
inadvertently becomes involved in the wrongdoing of another, will be liable to furnish information
concerning the wrongdoer to a plaintiff. While this case was concerned with patents, it also has an
application to copyright and could be of particular use to copyright owners who are unable to
establish the identity of persons importing pirated works into a country.
2.251 A related but more effective procedure is to be found in Section 53 of the Indian Copyright
Act 1957. This provision enables the Registrar of Copyrights to order that copies made out of India
of a work which, if made in India, would infringe copyright, shall not be imported. The section also
authorizes the Registrar to enter any ship, dock or premises for the purpose of examining allegedly
infringing works. The use of the section in a case involving the transportation of pirated audio