Shreya Singhal, and how Intermediaries are simply Intermediaries Once Again – Striking down the Chilling Effect

The concept of ‘intermediary liability’ in all its nuances, as I have written before, is one of the bulwarks of the internet as we know it, including one of the aspects of it that we all know and love – the power it gives to each and every individual to exercise their right to free speech. In fact, it is that very power that even I am exercising right now as a blogger, even as part of an academic institution. This post looks into the Shreya Singhal and Ors. v. Union of India judgment, the contentions raised therein by intermediaries, and the consequences it has for intermediaries and internet-users alike. We will be looking at the Section 69A issues in a separate post.

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[SpicyIP Cross-post] The Fault in our Intermediary Liability Laws

This post was first published on SpicyIP here.

Over the course of 2014, we have seen a multitude of blocking orders pass through the hallowed walls of our courts. Some of the most curious things about these orders are that they were, mostly, ex-parte, John Doe orders, aimed at websites rather than specific content, and the cause of actions was that infringement was ‘likely’ to occur. I’m going to be dealing with the last two of the issues in detail, while the first issue has already been dealt with by Prof. Shamnad Basheer here.

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The “Bang Bang” Order: ‘Likely’ Copyright Infringement Trumps Intermediary Immunity

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/o9EcaJ)

This post examines the order given by the Delhi High Court (DHC), which is the third in a series of worrying orders by the DHC, from the perspective of Intermediary Liability.

In order to ensure no possible online access to Bollywood film “Bang Bang” which released on Oct 2, the Delhi High Court on Sep 30 directed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to around 90 websites which could have streamed, broadcasted or provided online access to the film. The restraint order was passed by the Court on a suit filed by Fox Star Studios, one of the producers of the film. A separate list of 72 websites was submitted to the High Court by the producer, contending that the movie should be unable to be watched on the internet without its permission and 18 other websites were made parties to the suit by the producers. While the order mentioned 90 websites specifically, it brings ‘other websites as subsequently notified by the producers’ within its purview, thereby making it extremely likely for websites beyond those specifically mentioned to be blocked.  Further hearing on this matter will take place on Nov 21, 2014.

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Law Commission Media Law Consultation – Panel V, Social Media

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/e5wZ3t)

The following is a post by Aman Gupta, a fourth year student at NUJS, covering the fifth panel of the Law Commission’s Media Law Consultation. Aman is currently the Director of the NUJS Society of International Law and Policy, and his areas of interest include Sports Law and Media Law. This post brings forward some very interesting ideas about Social Media Regulation in India, which we will be following up on in future posts.

The Law Commission of India hosted a two day consultation process on issues concerning Media Law in New Delhi on the 27th and 28th of September. The fifth panel of the event dealt with the controversial topic of ‘Social Media’ with regard to Section 66A of the Information and Technology Act (IT Act). The consultation was attended by journalists, academics and students, along with the owners of various websites that have been affected by the application of the provisions of the IT Act.

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Law Commission Media Law Consultation – Panel I, Self Regulation v. Statutory Regulation

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/hzrA2W) The following is a post by Shashank Singh, a third year student at NUJS, covering the first panel of the Law Commission’s ongoing Media Law Consultation, Self-Regulation v. Structural Regulation.  Shashank currently serves as Associate Editor for the  NUJS Law Review, and his areas of interest include Constitutional Law, Media Law and IPR. 

The Law Commission of India is currently hosting a two day consultation process on issues concerning media law. This comes in the backdrop of the TRAI’s Recommendations on Ownership of Media released on August 12, 2014. The first panel looked at the much debated topic of Self Regulation v. Structural Regulation. The consultation was attended by journalists, academics and students. Ironically, the notable absence in the entire consultation process were the ‘owners’ who would be most effected from the outcome of any future binding regulation.

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