Laws regulating OTT platforms in India

Laws regulating OTT platforms in India: All You Need to Know

This article on ‘Laws regulating OTT platforms in India 2022’ was written by Anuj an intern at Legal Upanishad.

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While the rise of social media, digital news, and OTT (Over-the-Top) entertainment platforms took a hit as a result of the worldwide epidemic, there has also been a rise in antagonism against users’ and the nation’s safety. These platforms, which were designed to be used for entertainment, have been taken over by spammers and propagandists who spread false information and nasty rhetoric. On these platforms, free expression is being abused unacceptably, highlighting the critical need for clear standards.

In this article, we will attempt to explain the laws which regulate the content of the OTT. OTT platforms have recently been in news due to their content. Some content is objectionable because it hurts some religious feelings of people in the country. Then the government made a new intermediary guideline for curbing this content over the OTT. In this article, we analyse that regulation in detail which regulate the content of the OTT platforms in India.

Regulation of OTT in India

Initially, before the new intermediary guidelines, the OTT platform was regulated by IT Act 2000, IPC, Article 19(1),19(2). In 2008 a DVD seller booked for the selling of a porn DVD although these DVDs are sold by their staff without acknowledging him. When then this case presented sent before the court owner said that why he is arrested without doing any wrong. Then court refers the matter to the government for policy making. But in 2015 section 66A was declared unconstitutional by the Honourable Supreme court of India. After that sections 67 A,67B, and 67C regulated those content that is objectionable. In 2021 government of India made a new Intermediary guideline for digital media.

New Intermediary guideline for digital media 2021.

Due diligence procedure

  • Publish all rules and regulations and their policy, and privacy for users, who wants to use predominantly these platforms for their creativity.
  • Not to upload any material or videos that are obscene. And do not write or publish any material which defames any person.
  • If users do not follow these guidelines their services are terminated with effect with the platform.
  • Prohibit uploading any information by the users which are about affecting the  Sovereignty and Integrity of India.
  • Periodically every year reminds the rule of the users, and also, in case of any amendment in the policy and rules by the government then inform the users.
  • It is mandatory for these platforms to retain the information for  180 days in the case removed by the user. And whenever the court orders any OTT to save the information then it shall be compulsory for such entity to keep such information till the courts.
  • If the government or any investigative agency asks for the information from any OTT entity then must provide such information as soon as possible but not more than 72 hours.
  • Share the information with the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team according to the norms of the government.

Additional Due diligence procedure

  • Appointment of a Chief Compliance Officer.
  • Appoint a nodal officer for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.
  • Appoint a resident grievance officer.
  • Publish the report regarding the compliance every month by the entity. In the report, they separately present the data regarding how man complaints aren’t received and action is taken thereon.
  • Finding the first originator of the information.

Three Tier regulatory model

  • In these guidelines, the government makes a three-tiers regulatory model in which a publisher shall develop a shelf regulating mechanism in which their resident grievance officer must publish their contact details over the platform.
  • Self-checked the content displayed over the platform.
  • Need to develop an online grievance redressal mechanism by using they taking action immediately over the complaint.
Laws regulating OTT platforms in India
Laws regulating OTT platforms in India

Do we need these regulations for OTT platforms?

The right to freedom of speech is allowed citizens to express their creativity over the platform. These rights come with restrictions. These restrictions include public order, morality, defamation, and many others. Recently it is going a trend to use these platforms for spreading hate between the communities. And many movies make with agendas to involve the political support and divide the community into two groups. To overcome this situation regulation is necessary.

If we see closely at these regulations they make it compulsory to take responsibility if any wrongful incident happened due to the content of the platform. Before this regulation, OTT  content was not up to mark because they create content just for entertainment for making money. It is necessary to maintain a critical balance between freedom and morality. Some times a need for strictness to save peace and harmony between the people of the country. Actions of OTT over the internet easy going for the viewers.

They watch content over the phone, laptop, or electronic gadget. Which spread any immoral or illegal things between communities faster than the spread of fire in the forest. Law is a powerful weapon if used smartly. Here smartly means that creating regulation for a medium does not mean affecting the freedom of the person. Because these fundamental rights save democracy.

In the OTT platform censorship is a smart weapon that is used by the regulators to maintain a balance between right and morality. Censorship is a phrase that refers to a set of interconnected principles, the most prominent of which is free speech, which is defined as the freedom to freely express or explain one’s opinions without fear of retaliation. This phrase has developed over time to include, among other things, speeches, music, movies, and artistic works.

These are the various types of censorship that can be applied in a community or country, with one of the key goals being to ensure that free speech is not stifled because it is offensive or harmful to the public.

When a creator is asked to remove multiple sections that contribute a substantial chunk of the content’s topic or are purposefully positioned to narrate anything (in the name of ‘censorship,’ his entire work is ripped apart. When a film or scene passes censorship in numerous countries without being edited yet is prohibited or censored in India, the logical question is “why?”

has a propensity of reappearing in our minds on a frequently’s understandable that traditions differ, but you can use them if the laws of your country permit it. Furthermore, the crowd has complete control over what they see, and neither the board, the government, nor the court, in my opinion, should enter their world and make decisions based on what they see.

Conclusion & Suggestions

These regulations are needed for the hour to curb the content over OTT. Content is the king because if we choose the correct way for the entertainment then it is well for all. Respect for choice is necessary but morality is the bridge between entertainment and obscene material.

Recently the debate on the OTT contents is not good they trying to disbalance the harmony between the people at large. As we know that every coin has two sides if any regulation is made by the government to curb illegal things. But another other side is it is not making the medium of harassment. It is very careful to follow these guidelines with great caution because these regulations unnecessarily affect the right of freedom or right of doing business.


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  2. Shameek Sen Journal of the Indian Law Institute Vol. 56, No. 2 (April-June 2014)
  3. Venkat Iyer, States Of Emergency: The Indian Experience (Butterworths 2000)
  5. Holdalls, Tessa, and Carolyn Wilson. “The Core Concepts: Fundamental to Media Literacy Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Journal of Media Literacy Education, vol. 6, no. 2, 2014, pp. 68 -78,