CENTRE TO NOTIFY INTERMEDIARY GUIDELINES BY JANUARY 15, 2020
In the matter of Facebook Inc vs Union of India, the centre has sought three months’ time from the Supreme Court for finalising and notifying the new and revised intermediary rules. Read order here.
In an affidavit the government submitted that the Electronic and Information Technology Ministry has drafted the Information Technology Intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules 2018, the draft has been published on its website for public comments requesting suggestions and objections from concerned stakeholders and public. Various rounds of consultation and discussions have also been held involving various chambers of commerce, associations and social media companies apart from inter-ministerial consultations.
The affidavit also acknowledges the purported drawbacks of the use of social media, it states how technology has led to economic and societal development but also there has been an exponential rise in hate speech, fake news, public order, anti-national activities, defamatory postings and other unlawful activities using internet or social media platforms.
The affidavit informed that the updated draft of intermediary rules is presently under discussion within Ministry, thus a further period of three months is required by the government to finalise and notify these rules.
REGISTRAR OF TRADE MARKS DUTY-BOUND TO SUPPLY GROUNDS FOR REFUSAL OF APPLICATION
Intellectual Property Attorneys Association had moved to the Delhi High Court after being aggrieved by the non-speaking order passed by the Registrar of Trade Marks while refusing applications for registration of trademarks.
It was contended that such a refusal was in violation of section 18(5) of the Trade Marks Act.
Under Sec 18(5) the Registrar is duty bound to send the copy of the order containing the ground for refusal or conditional acceptance as well as the materials used by him to arrive at his decision.
In contrast, Rule 36 of the Trade Marks Rule, 2017 provides that the Registrar shall communicate the decision in writing to the applicant and if the applicant intended to file an appeal he might apply within 30days in Form TM-M for the supply of grounds behind it.
However, a Judgement passed by Justice JR Midha has declared this rule to be arbitrary, unreasonable and inconsistent with the Act in so far as it empowers the Registry to communicate the decision without the grounds for refusal or conditional acceptance.
Thus, the court has ordered Rule 36 to be inconsistent with the Act and directed the Registrar to strictly comply with Sec 18(5) of the Trade Marks Act giving a detailed reasoned order containing the grounds of refusal/ conditional acceptance to be sent to the applicant within two weeks of passing of the order.
Read judgement here.
LIST OF PROHIBITED CONTENT TO BE ISSUED BY MIB
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is set to issue a list of prohibited content to OTT platforms. This ‘negative list’ is a list of some ‘non-negotiable’ prohibited content which will be issued to the over the top service providers by the end of 2019. MIB has also urged the OTT platforms to come up with a self-regulatory body corresponding to that of News Broadcasting Standards Authority.
This is not an attempt to censor the content but there will be prohibitions on some fundamental things such as depicting the Indian map incorrectly and portraying women in a disrespectful manner.
OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Arre, SonyLIV, ALTBalaji, Voot, and Eros Now became signatories to the Internet and Mobile Association of India’s self- regulatory code. The code already provides for a section as prohibited content that highlights the type of content these platforms would not make available.
This report has come out after the two day seminar conducted by MIB for film certification and regulation of online content in Mumbai on 10th and 11th October. The seminar hinted towards a self-regulatory code for OTT- platforms which would be acknowledged by the government so as to give it legal sanctity.
DELHI HIGH COURT SEEKS GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE OVER VOIP BREACH
A petition is filed by Internet Service Provider (ISP) World Phone Internet Services Pvt. Ltd. (WPISPL) claiming that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp were providing telephony services without licence.
The Delhi High Court issued notices to the department of telecommunication, the finance ministry , along with Facebook and WhatsApp seeking their response on the plea claiming that the messaging portals are illegally providing voice-over-internet protocol services which are only permitted under a telecom licence.
The petitioner contented that licence holders of telecom service providers and internet service providers providing internet telephony were subject to regulations and security measures which were to be strictly followed.
The company alleged that while Indian TSPs, ITSPs, ISPs, were subjected to various licensing requirements, compliance and licence fees while unlicensed services provided by Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are not regulated and fall outside the purview of lawful interception norms in India.
The petitioner through this plea seeks a direction from the court so that central government takes relevant steps to prevent such platforms from offering these services until they comply with the unified licencing requirement under Sec 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 and other relevant provisions issued by government from time to time.
STORM AROUND THE SONG ‘DON’T BE SHY’ CLEARED
‘Bala’ has been surrounded by controversies ever since its trailer released. Be it its storyline being extremely close to the other film Ujda Chaman or the release of its first song ‘Don’t be shy’.
Dr. Zeus the original music composer- singer of that song slammed the recreated version on Twitter by criticising the makers of plagiarizing.
However, the controversy around this hit song has been clarified by the makers.
Makers of Bala have claimed to acquire a legitimate licence from the worldwide copyright owner Karman Entertainment.
Thus, Maddock Films have an official licence from Karman Entertainment for the recreation rights of the song.
MADRAS HIGH COURT REFUSES TO STALL RELEASE OF ‘BIGIL’, ALLOWS PLAINTIFF TO FILE FRESH SUIT
Assistant director K.P. Selvah had moved to the city civil court, Chennai, claiming copyright over the story of Bigil which he has registered with the South India Film Writers Association.
While his suit was being heard by the civil court, he moved a memo seeking permission to withdraw the suit with liberty to approach the appropriate forum in the future.
The XIV assistant civil court passed an order on 20th August permitting Selvah to withdraw the suit, however, the liberty to file a fresh suit in the future was denied.
Aggrieved by the order Selvah approached the High Court of Madras with the present revision petition.
The case was heard by Justice Suresh Kumar wherein he pronounced that the permission to withdraw the suit and giving liberty to institute the suit are inseparable.
Thus, the judge has set aside the order in so far as disallowing Selvah to file a fresh suit before appropriate forum.
However, the High Court has refrained from stalling the film’s release on 25th October.
SWAMI RAMDEV VS FACEBOOK & ORS-SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS DIRECTED TO BLOCK OFFENSIVE CONTENT GLOBALLY
In a suit filed by Swami Ramdev against Facebook and other social media platforms alleging that the defamatory remarks and information including videos, based on a book titled “Godman to Tycoon – the Untold Story of Baba Ramdev” are being disseminated over the Defendants’ platforms, the Delhi High Court has held that social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube are bound to globally disable and block any offending content uploaded from within India, against which there is an order of removal.
The Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh ruled against the practice of geo-blocking or partial disabling of content based on territory.
However, the platforms have raised their concerns regarding the said global blocking. According to them this would be contrary to the principle of comity of courts, would create conflict of laws, and even go to the extent of restraining freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the constitution of many countries.
It is to be noted how such a development is coming at the time government is looking to revise the existing rules controlling intermediaries and social media platforms.
Read judgement here.