Is Protecting Internet Intermediaries and Forgetting their Users Wrong

Ed Note: The following is a guest post by Abhijeet Singh Rawaley, a student of NALSAR University of Law.

The law surrounding online intermediary liability in cases concerning copyright infringement has posed a major interpretive challenge in Indian jurisprudence. The division bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in its 2016 December judgment attempted to resolve the same in MySpace Inc. v. Super Cassettes Industries Ltd. While the case dealt with a host of issues in copyright law, this post shall limit its analysis and critique the judgment on its discussion and holding concerning the role played by online intermediaries. It is devoted to understanding as to how we can create a framework of internet governance that not only protects intermediaries where they deserve and merit protection from liability, but also makes them more accountable and responsible actors who wield significant command over a valuable media such as the internet. The interpretative impediment in the case arose due to the prima facie discord between Section 79 and the proviso to Section 81 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

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