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Quick Take: Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a game?

Are gaming companies intermediaries or publishers? Which ministry in the Indian government should regulate them?

The (draft) update to the Indian governments “Platform Rules” poses a tricky question: are gaming companies publishers or platforms? The answer determines which ministry regulates them: the IT Ministry (platforms) or Information & Broadcasting (publishers).

Traditionally, gaming studios, like movies, have been publishers, despite the interactivity. Many games allow users to battle each other, and allegedly impact the outcome. Real-money games are positioning themselves as platforms. However, the IT Act doesn’t classify companies as platforms or publishers: it views these as functions, and thus the function and not the company should be regulated. Those framing the Rules have forgotten this.

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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