Regulators

MSOs join issues with TRAI tariff plea at Madras HC

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MUMBAI: In a fresh twist to a face-off between broadcasters and regulator TRAI over tariff matters vis-a-vis international and Indian copyright laws, country’s MSOs have joined issues requesting Madras High Court to hear their views too.

According to cable industry sources, All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF), India’s apex body for digital multi-system operators (MSOs), has impleaded itself in the case and urged the Madras High Court --- hearing a case filed by Star India and Vijay TV filed against Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over draft tariff guidelines --- that while disposing off the case it’s viewpoints should also be heard and taken into account.

The sources indicated that the MSOs had moved the court about 10 days back as they apprehended the viewpoints of  distribution platforms of TV services in India, notably the MSOs, may not be heard; especially when they have views that don’t converge with those of the petitioners on all aspects of the petition.

Though Indiantelevision.com was not able to get full details of the MSOs’ stand in the court, industry observers explained that the presence of distributors of TV services in Madras HC makes the case interesting as the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) too has urged to be heard during the hearing of the case.

After Star India and Vijay TV had moved the Madras High Court appealing against TRAI’s jurisdiction to pass guidelines over tariff and commercial matters where copyrights was involved relating to content, the regulator had moved the Supreme Court seeking succour.

However the apex court, while  directing TRAI that it could continue with its regulation-framing exercises and seek its nod before mandating guidelines, also observed that the regulatory body should argue its case before the Madras High Court, declining to stay proceedings in the high court.

The high court had asked TRAI to maintain status quo on tariff guidelines till full hearing of the case filed by Star India and Vijay TV. The next hearing is scheduled middle of this month.

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