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MediaNama Daily: A Copyright Conundrum

PSA for all Twitter users, exciting events throughout the week, Punjab’s no-internet weekend, China’s block move, and more

🥇If There’s One Story To Read Today 

You say Potato, I say Potahto

Once upon a time, in an internship far, far away, I was told to make a database of as many copyright-free children’s stories as possible. I knew the basic rule—that older children’s books, over 100 years old, would likely fall outside of copyright laws. The problem was, I didn’t know where to look for them. 

That’s when I first stumbled upon the Internet Archive. I found hundreds—that’s no exaggeration—of digitised children’s books from the last one-and-a-half centuries. I checked out titles online, made my database of stories, and got my first paycheck, thanks to the Archive. 

But, in a case filed against the Internet Archive in 2020, four US publishers argued that the “digital library” model hits their bottom line. Digitising books and offering them to people for free hurts authors and publishers—who alone should be able to decide how their work is distributed. Now, as a writer, I understand where they’re coming from too. 

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So, where does access to knowledge end and copyright begin? Who benefits from free information online and who loses? Those are the questions that a federal court is grappling with currently. Our summary captures the currents (and undercurrents) of this important stateside case—read this 4-minute story here

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🎙 It’s Closing In! 

To what extent does a user need to be identified? Can user verification processes prevent scams? How can we protect our sensitive data while undergoing government verification? We will be raising and discussing these, and more such questions, at our hybrid roundtable on ‘Exploring User Verification’ at The Claridges in New Delhi on March 23, 2023. Want to join? Register here. Need to know more? Read here.

🗓 Your Tech Policy Agenda

  • Fighting for a better internet! A virtual fest from March 20-24, MozFest is a unique hybrid: part art, tech and society convening. MediaNama editor and founder, Nikhil Pahwa, is also a speaker at this event. Click here to know more about this and register here to attend. 
  • Rapid tech changes: Politico is holding an event called ‘Telecoms drumbeat for the future of connectivity’ on March 21 to discuss the impact of rapid technological changes on the network infrastructure and what the future of connectivity will look like in the coming years. Register here.  
  • Exploring AI: FutureFantastic is an AI and new media arts festival in India being held at Bangalore International Centre (BIC) from 24-26 March. Aarathi from MediaNama will also be a part of the panel discussion on ‘Generative AI for the 21st Century’! Click here to know more and register here to attend the event. 

🚨Today’s Top Stories


Not enough IPTV users to warrant convergence: There are merely six lakh (6.19) IPTV connections as per a response to an RTI filed by MediaNama which is negligible compared to more than 100 crore mobile connections in the country. But TRAI seems to be intent on bringing convergence so as to address governance challenges in regulating IPTV. [Read 🔒, 2 minutes

Curbing robo texts: It seems like the problem of scam via robotexts remains pervasive across the world as is evident from the new rules issued by the American telecom regulator recently. It may be prudent for India to take a leaf out of FCC’s playbook given that its current mechanism seems to be awfully inadequate to deal with spam and scam. [Read 🔒, 3 minutes]      


Punjab’s no-internet weekend: Punjab’s home department issued and extended an Internet suspension in the state upto March 20 noon. Residents spent the better part of their weekend without Internet or SMS services. And all of this because the police ‘suspects’ incitement to violence on social media. Is our right to speech online so fragile that authorities can suspend services on mere doubt? Digital rights groups like the IFF and the SFLC.in think not and here’s why. [Read, 2 minutes]

Taiwan troubles: China has once again blocked the Wikimedia Foundation’s application for observer status at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Why? Because its Wikipedia projects host “disinformation” on Taiwan. Translation: now, Wikimedia doesn’t get to influence copyright and speech issues at the global level because of diplomatic pressure. As one expert put it, “if we seek a future where international IP is not going to be exclusively dictated by large media and patent industries…then organizations like Wikimedia (…) need to find a seat at the table. Or, at least an ear at the door, as it was in this case.” [Read 🔒, 2 minutes]

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Now influencers for the government too? From skincare and clothing brands to public service advertisements, imagine social media influencers now talking about government policies too. It may not be desirable, but Indians may soon witness it. India’s IT ministry is keen on tapping into the influencer ecosystem for promoting government communications through its MyGov platform. Check out what this collaboration will look like. [Read 🔒, 3 minutes]

Roller-coaster week for e-pharmas: So after giving e-pharmacies a serious scare of shutting shop, the Health Ministry on March 17 said in the Parliament that it does not have any “specific report” saying that companies have such a health dataset. So then why did it claim misuse of health data by e-pharmacies before? Is it just us or does something not add up here? [Read 🔒, 2 minutes ]


No, not the r-word please: Rules.That’s what you’d see more of if the government believes obscenity and profanity is getting out of hand on OTT streaming platforms. If the existing amount of censorship wasn’t already enough, get ready for more. What shows or movies is the government watching btw? [Read, 2 minutes]


PSA for all Twitter users: If you are a free Twitter user (which you likely are because how many of y’all ready to pay $8/month for an edit button) then today is the last day you can use SMS to receive OTP for logins. So change to another option like an authenticator app or Twitter will default your account to no two-factor authentication and make it an easy target for hackers. We’ve outlined the steps to take to change to an authentication app. [Read 🔒, 2 minutes]

🌏 Tech Policy from Around the World

Signature’s Crypto Business Wasn’t Part of Takeover Deal [Read] (Yueqi Yang/Bloomberg)

Taiwan financial regulator says will oversee crypto currencies [Read] (Emily Chan/Reuters)

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Netflix’s ad-supported tier is reportedly gathering momentum in the US [Read] (Jon Porter/The Verge)

TikTok’s Moderators Still Review Child Abuse Despite Vow to Exit [Read] (Benoit Berthelot, Henry Ren/Bloomberg)

Kremlin tells officials to stop using iPhones – Kommersant newspaper [Read] (Guy Faulconbridge/Reuters)

Uber-Lyft Group Challenges Biden’s Labor Pick Over Worker Rules [Read] (Jordan Fabian/Bloomberg)

Microsoft plans mobile games app store to rival Apple and Google [Read] (Tim Bradshaw/Financial Times)

BBC Urges Staff to Delete Tiktok From Company Devices [Read] (Naomi Clark, Bloomberg)

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MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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