Supreme Court’s Livestream A Big Hit. Now, The Issue Of Copyright And Ads

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The Supreme Court will hear a petition asking for an arrangement with YouTube to protect the copyright of proceedings when they are livestreamed on the world’s largest video-sharing website.
The petition filed by KN Govindacharya, a former leader of the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, said the livestream of the Supreme Court’s proceedings should not be monetised or used for any commercial purpose by others, which is why some form of agreement with YouTube is needed for copyright protection.

A bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi said the Supreme Court decided to livestream the Constitution benches’ proceedings first to see its scope. “We had to break the ice somewhere. Therefore, we started with the Constitution benches,” the court said.

It issued notices to the Supreme Court’s Secretary General and others, and will hear the matter on November 28.

The former RSS ideologue’s lawyer, Virag Gupta, said he supports livestreaming of the Supreme Court’s proceedings, but it should also consider the judgment to be given or the case being heard before deciding on livestreaming it.

“That is all right. We have taken steps for livestreaming of the proceedings, initially with the Constitution benches, and it can then be translated further for a three-judge combination,” the Supreme Court said.

On the lawyer’s suggestion that the Supreme Court livestream on YouTube should not be monetised by others, the Chief Justice of India said, “We are well aware of that. If we were to go by this process that you are saying that first change the rule, first do that, first do this etc., then, perhaps, I think we would not have been able to take steps in that direction.”

“What you are suggesting is of course good. We are cognisant of that. We are not oblivious to it. We are taking steps,” Chief Justice Lalit said.

The Supreme Court for the first time livestreamed its Constitution bench proceedings on September 27 while hearing a petition challenging reservation for the poor, and a case on the fight between the centre and the Delhi government over control of services.

Virag Gupta, the lawyer, on September 26 had requested the Supreme Court to consider the petition on livestreaming for urgent listing. Mr Gupta said YouTube would get the copyright of the proceedings if they were livestreamed on the video-sharing website.

Referring to a 2018 Supreme Court judgment that paved the way for livestreaming of proceedings, the lawyer said it was held that “the copyright over all the material recorded and broadcast in this court shall vest with this court only”.

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