This discussion paper was first presented at the 'Seminar on Film Certification and Regulation of Online Content' organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India at Mumbai, on October 10, 2019 and October 11, 2019. This discussion paper has been prepared by us for the benefit of the readers with a view to provide a brief background on the contentious subject of online content regulation, the issues involved, and the laws applicable to online curated content platforms ("OCCP") today. The objective of the paper is to facilitate a meaningful deliberation in relation to issues of whether such OCCPs should be regulated, by whom, and to what extent. It also provides several recommendations for OCCPs and the Government.
OCCPs have disrupted the entertainment industry in unimaginable ways. The variety, diversity and ease of access to content on such platforms have contributed to their escalating popularity in India. However, pre-certification laws do not apply to such content, resulting in a perception that such content is completely unregulated. Several public bodies and consumers have filed public interest litigations in Indian courts urging the Government to introduce fresh legislation to regulate such content.
These issues have coughed up various questions for consideration – should there be pre-certification of curated content? Are OCCPs unregulated today? If not, what are the laws applicable to such OCCP? Is there a requirement for additional laws? What should the role of the regulator be in such an ecosystem?
The discussion paper aims to facilitate debate and discussion on these questions, keeping in mind the nature and role of OCCP platforms today, i.e., as a pull/on-demand service which is not subject to public exhibition. The paper also contains some meaningful recommendations and suggestions for the Government and OCCPs.
- Are OCCPs unregulated today? If not, what are the laws applicable to such platforms?
- Is there a requirement for any additional laws to regulate OCCPs?
- What should be the role of a regulator in the regulation of such content?
- Recommendations for government and OCCPs
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