Regulators

TRAI tariff: Madras HC extends status quo; SC to hear regulator's appeal on 16 Jan

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NEW DELHI: The Madras High Court today extended to 19 January 2017 the status quo with regard to any TRAI tariff orders or regulations for the broadcast sector in a case by Star TV and Vijay TV.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on 16 January 2017 the appeal by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India against this interim order issued last month by Madras HC.

In the Madras High Court, the broadcasters had sought to argue that the TRAI orders are in conflict with the Copyright Act 1957. As a result of that court order and pending the full hearing of the case, TRAI would not be able to pass any guideline for issues such as broadcast tariff, broadcast interconnect, and quality of services.

A TRAI spokesperson said that although it was still waiting to receive the order from the Court, one immediate result would be that the draft tariff and interconnect guidelines issued by the regulator will be subject to the order of the High Court in this regard unless the apex court accepted the regulator's appeal.

A few months ago, TRAI had issued draft guidelines on tariff interconnect and quality of service, while TRAI chairman RS Sharma had told indiantelevision.com earlier this month that the regulator would come out with its final recommedation by the end of the year.

It may be recalled that the Indian Broadcasting Foundation had also said in a submission to TRAI that the regulator's draft guidelines were in direct conflict with the provisions of the Indian Copyright Act and similar regulations under the Berne Convention.

The IBF had said the Copyright Board is fully empowered to adjudicate upon disputes between any person and Content or Broadcast Reproduction Rights owners. Hence the Copyright Act and Rules provide for protection, monetisation, enforcement and adjudication procedures for all copyrightable work and broadcast reproduction rights.

Also read: Maintain status quo on broadcast guidelines, Madras HC tells TRAI

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