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    Indian Music Industry appears to advocate exclusion of OTTs from broadcast definition

    Music industry association, the Indian Music Industry (IMI) suggests that the definition of “broadcast” under the National Broadcasting Policy should be limited to a “point to multipoint” technology. The IMI defines this as “a process in which the same signal flows, or is transferred from a single origin to multiple consumers. The signal should arrive at all end points roughly at the same time.” It said this in response to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation on the National Broadcasting Policy.

    So should OTTs be included under the scope of “broadcast”?

    It clarifies that the definition of broadcasting should not cover the process of “point to point” transmissions which are delivered to the consumers individually wherein the connection is between one person or entity and another. Based on the definition suggested by IMI, it seems that it wants over-the-top (OTT) service providers, which means streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, to be kept outside the scope of the definition of broadcast.

    Unlike traditional broadcasting services, content doesn’t arrive at all endpoints at the same time when using streaming services. Viewers can watch it at their own convenience. Viewers have control over what they watch, if they don’t like a show or a film, they can easily switch to another. They also majorly watch streaming content over their phones, which makes it private viewing, which means that streaming services would fall under the category of unicast, and not broadcast.

    Although implied by IMI’s definition, there is no explicit statement excluding OTTs from the broadcast category. It has, however, said that any broad definition of broadcasting proposed under the policy “can have [a] detrimental impact on the music streaming revenues in the music industry.” IMI wants the definition of broadcast under the policy to respect the meaning of broadcast as established and interpreted under the Indian Copyright laws. “This clarity is essential to align with international copyright treaties and effectively support the growth of Indian regional content through streaming platforms while respecting copyright laws.”

    [Note: MediaNama has reached out to IMI to clarify whether it wants OTTs to be excluded from the definition of broadcasting. The story will be updated to reflect IMI’s response.]

    How should the policy promote Indian music globally?

    Promoting Indian music globally requires the implementation of policies that promote music as a service export. This includes the protection of copyrighted works across boundaries and leveraging export schemes by the Government of India.

    With respect to preventing online piracy of copyrighted music, IMI suggests the following—

    • Creation of specialized units dedicated to investigating and prosecuting digital piracy cases. It highlights existing piracy prevention bodies such as Maharashtra and Telangana’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit, arguing that state-level bodies are crucial for criminal enforcement of copyright laws.
    • Creation of an alternative administrative enforcement mechanism involving rightsholders and various ministries (IT Ministry, Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Home Ministry, etc.) to bolster enforcement efforts.
    • Strengthening international enforcement via partnerships and cooperation.

    Also read:

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    The post Indian Music Industry appears to advocate exclusion of OTTs from broadcast definition appeared first on MediaNama.

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