SHIFTING FRAMEWORKS : HOW OTT IMPACTS LEGAL SYSTEMS
By Anil Lale
In this exclusive interview, Anil explains the pandemic’s effect on how audiences consume media, and how it acted as a catalyst to unlock new potential for filmmakers. For the first time, films that were set to release on the silver screen premiered on OTP platforms. Prior to the pandemic, OTP platforms were primarily used for the release of a series rather than a feature film. However, as the world shifted, so did media.
In the wake of this change in content consumption, Anil stresses that lawmakers too, have to set up new laws in regard to things like licensing, royalties, copyright and piracy.
When it comes specifically to piracy, Anil points out that OTP & even traditional channels, lose approximately 30% of their revenue to “the business of infringement”. “Downloading a movie with a torrent is a thing of the past,” Anil states. “As technology evolves, so does the way piracy happens.” One of the newer modes of operandi for content thieves is through creation of a super-aggregator app. These apps, he explains, circumvent rights management systems and other measures deployed by legitimate content owners to extract content and then make it available on their own platforms. Bringing the pirates to justice becomes further complicated since these platforms are currently not governed by any law, and may or may not be in the same country from which the content was infringed, he adds. “To combat piracy in real time, it is essential to establish a central nodal agency with multi-state jurisdiction that can also coordinate with similar agencies across the world. Such a system can be a symbiotic learning experience as far the whole industry is concerned.”
Elaborating further, Anil says that a central nodal agency can be set up in the Department for Promotion Of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as the Ministry already handles matters related to protection of IPR. Discussing the recent abolishment of the IPAB, Anil explains the backlog of cases was, in part, related to the lack of a technical personnel involved. Despite this, Anil sees an importance for the body because, “With courts, the judges are…experts in the law.” One recommendation he has is that the courts allow third party involvement to assist with matters of technology and other intricacies of piracy.
A private-public partnership model where private players share their technical expertise with the agency is key to reduce the burden on courts, he reasons. Further, international cooperation has to be considered, even at a legal level. “While IP issues remain largely governed by local rules, the global nature of law make international dialogue also essential.”
Anil concludes that it is imperative to keep the conversation around piracy alive and relentlessly create awareness to make Indian industry professionals more attuned to said issues.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anil is a media and technology lawyer with more than 17 years of experience and have handled legal roles across organisations like Sony, Zee and Viacom18. He has managed contracts, litigation, regulatory and IP protection for all facets of media businesses including broadcasting, OTT, Music, News, Sports, Live and consumer products.