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Intermediary Liability Amendment: Counter Comments on Copyright Issues

By Roshni Sekhar and Siddharth Manohar The counter-comments submitted to MEITY on the draft amendment to the Intermediary Guidelines Rules, 2018 covered a range of issues, including the copyright issues in relation to Rule 3(2). Star India had in the initial comment period argued in favour of requiring intermediaries to deploy tools to proactively disable access to content deemed as unlawful. The Indian Music Industry (IMI), in their original submissions, had argued that platforms should be required to take down content on receipt of notice from copyright holders. These arguments have been countered by Software Freedom Law Center in the subsequent counter comment period, while IMI has reiterated its stance, finding support in submissions from Reliance Jio. An issue-wise breakdown of these comments is provided below. Technology-based Tools under Rule 3(9) SFLC, in its counter comment argues that the requirement for intermediaries to determine the legality of content violates the SC order in Shreya Singhal. The submission points out that YouTube’s “Content ID” system for detecting infringing content has been criticised for excessive censorship, blocking original content. "It should also be noted that automated systems are not efficient enough to determine the legality of the use of copyrighted works, especially for fair use exemptions. Such a determination must be made by the judiciary. Introduction of a provision that would make intermediaries liable for violating Rule 3(9) is beyond the scope of these Rules and would result in excessive delegation of legislative power." The Indian Music Industry reiterated its stance on the deployment…

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