Online content can’t be regulated under Cinematograph Act: HC

BANGALORE, 11/12/2007: A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy 11-12-2007  

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday held that the films, serials and other multimedia contents transmitted, broadcast or exhibited through internet platforms, like YouTube, Google India, online streaming platforms like Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Alt Digital, cannot be regulated under the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Mohammad Nawaz passed the order while rejecting a plea made in a PIL petition filed Padmanabh Shankar, a resident of Bengaluru.

While pointing out that children were being affected due to unregulated content transmitted through online platforms, the petitioner had sought a declaration from the court that films, serials, and other multimedia content transmitted through online platforms require certification under the Cinematograph Act till a suitable legislation is made to regulate them. It was also contended in the petition that the Cinematographic Act, 1952 and the Cable Television Network Regulation Ac, 1995 are silent with regard to broadcast or transmission of films, cinema, serials and other multimedia contents through the internet.

The bench said that going by the concept of internet and its operation, the act of exhibition of films, serials and other content perhaps amounts to transfer of files based on requests by users, and hence it is not possible to accept that transfer of files or films, serials through the internet comes under the purview of Cinematograph Act.

However, the bench observed that the anxiety of the petitioner, who is a senior citizen, that films, serials and other multimedia content transmitted through internet platforms will have an adverse impact on children can be well understood.

While observing that the concern expressed by the petitioner merits consideration by the Union government, the bench said that it hopes that the Union government, considering a larger public interest, will find a solution within the four corners of the law if the petitioner submits a representation seeking regulation of content of online streaming platforms.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 8:39:02 PM |

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