Regulators

Maintain status quo on broadcast guidelines, Madras HC tells TRAI

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NEW DELHI: The Madras High Court today ordered that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) should maintain status quo with regard to any tariff orders or regulations for the broadcast sector.

The Court directed that the stay will be in place till 12 January when the case comes up for hearing.

The Madras HC order came on a petition filed by Star India and Vijay TV on the ground that the TRAI orders are in conflict with the Copyright Act 1957. As a result of this 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 court in this regard.

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 reaction to the TRAI drafts that the exercise was in direct conflict with the provisions of the Copyright Act.

The comments had been stated in the comments to the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations 2016; the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order 2016; and the Standards of Quality of Service) and Consumer Protection (Digital Addressable Systems) Regulations 2016.

The IBF has 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.

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