SC to Hear on April 10 Plea for Arrangement with YouTube to Safeguard Copyright of Live-Streamed Proceedings

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday a plea seeking a direction for a special arrangement with YouTube for safeguarding the copyright of its live-streamed proceedings according to a 2018 judgment.

According to the April 10 cause list, uploaded on the apex court’s website, a bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala will hear the plea.

While hearing the matter on January 2, the Supreme Court had observed that it was very easy to criticise someone or throw a stone at somebody after a petitioner contended that the court’s registry has not followed the directions in the 2018 verdict on live-streaming of proceedings.

The bench had asked advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for former RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya, what modalities can be followed for live-streaming at a time when the National Informatics Centre (NIC) was saying it does not have sufficient technical infrastructure to live-stream court proceedings without third party applications.

In its January 2 order, the bench had referred to an affidavit filed on behalf of the secretary general of the apex court in the matter.

The affidavit had said that the full court of the top court had taken a decision in a meeting held on September 20 last year to start live-streaming of proceedings before the constitution benches.

“In compliance thereof, a decision was taken by the competent authority directing the registry through the computer cell to work in close coordination with the National Informatics Centre (NIC), video-conferencing (VC) division to proceed with live-streaming on the NIC’s YouTube channel with effect from September 27, 2022,” the affidavit had said.

“It is submitted that the experience and knowledge that would be gained while live-streaming the court proceedings before the constitution benches would eventually help in further improving the system and adopting the same for other court proceedings, as and when so decided,” it had said.

The affidavit had said that due to technical limitations, the secretary general of the apex court, as a temporary measure, is constrained to avail the facilities of third parties to ensure compliance of the directions of the top court in the judgment, the decision of the full court and to uphold the principle of open courts.

“The above extract (of the affidavit) indicates that a temporary arrangement has been put into place in view of the decision in Swapnil Tripathi vs Supreme Court of India and in order to uphold the principle of open courts. Since the affidavit of the first respondent (secretary general) states that efforts are being adopted for a self-contained and self-reliant live-streaming platform, list the petition on April 10, 2023,” the bench had said in its order.

It had said that an updated report be filed by the registry in the meantime.

On October 17 last year, the top court had agreed to hear Govindacharya’s plea seeking a direction for a special arrangement with YouTube for safeguarding copyright over the court’s live-streamed proceedings as held in the 2018 judgment.

Govindacharya has contended that live-streaming of the Supreme Court’s proceedings has to be done in accordance with the judgment that said the copyright over live-streamed proceedings cannot be surrendered and the data can neither be monetised nor be used commercially by a platform such as YouTube in the present case.

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