Legal Framework for Online Content in India

I recently read an interesting column, “Lawfully Yours” at LiveMint.Com titled as, “A legal framework for online content in India is sorely needed”.

Here are some thoughts on the column: The author omits to mention that in the absence of specific laws governing online content regulation, laws which have not specifically made for online content regulation will still apply to it. This is the principle of functional equivalence with statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860 will be made applicable to online act’s and omissions. Moreover, I noticed that there was an incorrect assertion that there has been no movement towards a constructive debate or movement towards content regulation. The report submitted by the expert committee as well as the Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006 clearly makes mention of the case as well as suggests changes to it. The topic of providing due diligence to foreign companies interested in setting up websites in India omitted to mention the extent and applicability of the act. A foreign company should be firstly advised about the extra territorial operation of the Information Technology Act. Hence it is incumbent on the foreign company to ensure compliance with Indian laws. Moreover, the company can limit its liability if it is seeking to have visitors or consumers only from an Indian jurisdiction by setting up a gateway. Hence there will be no need to, “struggle to advise a company on how to give “due diligence” when there are millions of Internet users worldwide.”

The author on the whole is correct in lamenting on the need for a comprehensive enactment to deal with such issues. The full text of the article can be found at the following link.

  • Premtosh

    Good to read, need more in depth research.

  • Reddy

    I concur with your point on functional equivalence in laws. In that regard, I believe that the Indian Parliament will do well also to amend the IT Act to provide for liabilities against copyright infringement online. It will certainly clarify India’s stance on “who is actually liable for user generated content” and such issues.

    Also, unrelated to the foregoing, I have come to learn that the Indian government is reviewing the IT Act’s amendments for national security reasons. I dont think this document is open for public discussion. Might anyone have an idea about its contents.

    I like your stuff Apar. Keep going!!

  • Pallav Mongia


    I am 4th year law student of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (chattisgarh). I am working on the liability of ISPs especially in context of copyright infringement.

    Can u throw more light on this concept of functional equivalence? Can u cite some case law or some authority to find its operation in India?

    Thnks. Can u mail me the same on my mail id.