Everyone wants to be updated on the latest events taking place in society in the digital age. Since India has a large urban youth population, media companies have evolved more online than in traditional media. Online media companies are experiencing an increase in dependency on smartphones. It is due to the fact that there are more internet users than ever before. There are also goods and service providers who are using this as a marketing tool for advertising their products through the use of online portals. Specially designed for marketing and outsourcing products worldwide.
It was announced by the Honourable Minister of Electronics and Information Technology that the Government intends to enact a new Information Technology Act by 2020. As early as April, his ministry began the initial consultation process with all stakeholders involved in the process. As part of this act, internet service providers and online media companies are expected to be held liable for a variety of things.
What is an online media company?
According to the Information Technology Act,2000, online media companies could be classified as ‘intermediaries’. It refers to any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores or transmits that record or provides any service with respect to that record. The online media portals are predominantly used for providing information, news or entertainment. But with a variety of choices in languages to increase the number of subscribers in order to bring in more profit for the media companies.
However, the companies had to abide by various legal procedures in order to gain such profits right from the setting up of the company to outsource it.
Legal aids by the Government
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an official order for forming a committee. It will frame and suggest a regulatory framework for the online media companies in India. The committee will comprise 10 members. It includes the secretaries of the Ministry of Human Affairs and the Department of Legal Affairs. Along with representatives from the Press Council of India, News Broadcasting Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation.
With the tremendously fast growth every minute in media activities online, the risk of exploitation also increases alongside. So the committee is bound to regulate a few aspects such as:
- Data protection (protecting private information and having centralised access to all content uploaded)
- Matters governed by the Information Technology Act, 2000 that don’t come under the ambit of the Ministry of Electronics and IT.
- Online streaming services need to be provided with a certain regulatory code
- The news and broadcast portals that operate online do not have a specific guideline or policy which will be looked in by the committee.
Legal obligations for an online media company
- Terms of Service – Every company needs to have a unique set of terms and conditions laid out to the customers. These rules must inform the customers about the limitations and conditions to which they are consenting by using your site.
- Non-compete and non-solicitation – While drafting the partnership deed, one needs to make sure to prevent the partners from setting up a bigger competitive business in the same market once they dissolve the partnership. The deed must also prevent partners from luring away other highly valued employees or partners. These provisions can take up within a specific time period and within a geographical area.
- Protection from liability of employee’s acts – As per the Indian law, the employer is liable for anything that may happen to the employees during their course of work. So a loyalty clause must be predominantly available in the contract between the employer and the employee in order to protect the company.
- Ownership of intellectual property – The company must make sure to retain any intellectual property rights of products developed by employees under their purview of business to prevent the ideas from passing on to other companies.
Several different attractive features have been introduced by online media companies these days to expand their scope of marketing. As a precautionary measure, every company is required to adhere to the laws in order to avoid any mishaps or accidents that might occur. A new law is needed to regulate the online media given the rise of artificial intelligence. As a result, the evolution of cybersecurity policies has also become of paramount importance in the modern day environment in which we live.