Copyright

Videos Mocking Rahul Gandhi Taken Down From You Tube


Two videos mocking Rahul Gandhi were taken down from a pro-Modi YouTube channel after the Congress served it with copyright violation notice, reported Times of India. The channel, “I Support Narendra Modi,” had posted two short clips which made fun of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s public interaction at a Singapore university. These clips had added commentary in overlaid text making fun of the Congress president.

According to the Congress, the original videos were shot by the Singapore University and they were uploaded under “Standard YouTube License”. As per the terms and conditions of the licence, channels reposting or reusing the video on YouTube is counted as copyright infringement. On the other hand, videos marked with YouTube’s “Creative Commons Attribution license” can be re-shared and re-used on other YouTube channels (while the copyright rests with the original uploader).

Is this a legally tenable argument?

According to Standard YouTube License, “Content is provided to you AS IS. You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service. You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content. You shall not copy, reproduce, make available online or electronically transmit, publish, adapt, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content. YouTube and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to the Service and the Content.”

Copyright is a bundle of rights. It includes the right to make any adaption of the “work”. Going by this interpretation, nobody can adapt the video uploaded in YouTube under Standard Terms and Conditions without the prior consent of Youtube or the respective licensors of the Content.

But cant this deleted video be treated as a “review” or “criticism” of the original video? If so, is it not a case of “fair dealing” under Section 52 and therefore, not a case of copyright infringement? As far as wording in Section 52 of Copyright Act goes, it is a mandatory provision (“The following acts shall not constitute an infrignment of copyright, namely: – ….”) and therefore, it is non-derogable. If this is the case, the Congress’ argument fails.

Mathews P. George

Mathews P. George

Mathews is a graduate of National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. His interest in intellectual property was kindled when he bagged the second position in his very second year in the prestigious Nani Palkhiwala Essay Competition on Intellectual Property. Winner of almost a dozen essay competitions in his law school days, he was involved in various research and policy initiatives relating to intellectual property. His stint as a student of Prof. Shamnad Basheer further accentuated his interest in intellectual property.

One comment.

  1. Jagdish Sagar

    I have come upon this post belatedly, but may as well add my two bits. To meet the test of section 52(1)(a)(iii) which is the only possibly relevant test, the clippings would have to firstly be “fair dealing” in the sense of being limited to what was necessary strictly for the purpose and, secondly, to have been made for the genuine purpose of reporting current events and current affairs. I personally feel the right to selectively use bits of a politicians’ speeches to make fun of him falls within the scope of reporting current events and current affairs. It might be defamatory, it might be unethical, it might even amount effectively to fake news, but that isn’t a copyright issue.
    But let me add, too much fun is being made of Rahul Gandhi (who is such a pathetically obvious target) and not enough of Modi. Watching Modi on TV I am sure that clever editing could make him look pretty ridiculous too–why doesn’t anyone notice?

    Reply

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