'No proposal to harmonise regulatory powers of TRAI with IP laws including Copyright Act'

I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said the TRAI Act and IP laws define provisions & powers of the respective competent authorities in relevant statutes prescribed for the purpose specified to them

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Dec 8, 2021 8:45 AM  | 4 min read
Anurag Thakur

The central government doesn't have any proposal to harmonise the regulatory powers of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) with the existing intellectual property laws including the Copyright Act, Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister Anurag Thakur said in the Rajya Sabha in response to a question by MP Dr Amar Patnaik. While responding to a question of whether the government is contemplating this, Thakur replied in the negative. "No Sir. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act and Intellectual Property laws including the Copyright Act define provisions and powers of the respective competent authorities in the relevant statutes prescribed for the purpose specified to them."

Thakur also said that the government has not yet formed a view on revising Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. He also said that the ministry has duly noted the suggestions it has received from stakeholders. "The Government invited suggestions from the stakeholders/public in relation to various issues related to the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 to keep pace with the developments in this sector. The suggestions received have been duly noted in the Ministry. No final view has been formed," Thakur said in the Rajya Sabha.

In January 2020, the MIB had come out with Cable Television Networks Regulation Amendment Bill 2020 and had invited suggestions from the public/stakeholders. One of the key amendments being brought by the ministry is to disallow state governments or their entities as well as religious and political parties from entering the TV distribution space. In clause 4(1), the ministry has inserted a negative list for registration as a cable operator. The proposed clause reads as “Provided that such a registration or renewal of registration shall not be granted to the State Governments, urban and local bodies, political and religious bodies, State Government Departments, State Government-owned companies, State Government undertakings, Joint ventures of the State Government and the private sector and State Government funded entities.”

In response to a question of whether the government has any policy proposal for animation, visual effects, gaming and comics, Thakur said that policymaking is a continuous and dynamic process and the ministry has not floated any policy proposal in this regard. While responding to a question from MP MV Shreyams Kumar on review of TV rating guidelines, Thakur merely said that the committee formed to look into the issue has made several recommendations in its report which has been shared with the stakeholders.

"A Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Chief Executive Officer, Prasar Bharati with members from IIT, C-DOT and IIM. The Committee was tasked, inter alia, to study any issues related or incidental to the subject and make recommendations on way forward for a robust, transparent and accountable rating system in India. The Committee has made recommendations on measurement methodology, the structural changes in the composition of the rating agencies, audits and other issues referred to them including TRAI recommendations. The report of the Committee has also been shared with the stakeholders," Thakur noted.

Thakur also said that the government has no plans to review guidelines for OTT platforms under the IT Rules 2021. "There is no such proposal to review the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021." Asked about details of complaint against OTT content and the action taken on those complaints, Thakur said that the complaints received in the ministry against content on OTT platforms are forwarded to the respective publishers, who are level- 1 of the grievance redressal mechanism, for redressal under the Rules. 

He also said that the content on OTT platforms is governed under the provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 which interalia provides for a Code of Ethics to be followed by the OTT platforms and a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism to look into complaints / grievances of violation of the code of ethics by such platforms.

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