Hold metaverse operators liable for IPR infringement: Music Industry to TRAI | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Hold metaverse operators liable for IPR infringement: Music Industry to TRAI

Feb 03, 2024 01:57 PM IST

IMI said that it wants metaverse operators and users to share accountability and responsibility in cases of intellectual property rights infringement

The Indian Music Industry (IMI), whose members include T-Series (Super Cassettes), Sony Music and others, wants metaverse operators to be held liable when intellectual property rights (IPR) of creators and users is infringed upon. In response to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s consultation on Digital Transformation through 5G Ecosystem, which ended on January 22, the IMI said that it wants metaverse operators and users to share accountability and responsibility in cases of IP infringement.

had sought inputs from stakeholders in its consultation on Digital Transformation through 5G Ecosystem. (Representative Image)
had sought inputs from stakeholders in its consultation on Digital Transformation through 5G Ecosystem. (Representative Image)

Blaise Fernandes, the CEO and president of IMI, in his submission said that user generated content platforms already claim safe harbour protection because of which “the enforceability of copyrights of rightsholders especially with respect to the music industry have become an astronomic task”. Extending safe harbour to metaverse, Fernandes wrote, would “create irreparable loss to the creators, artists and rightsholders in the industry while crippling the growth of the recorded music industry in India”.

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Other stakeholders, including the likes of Meta, Jio, VI, BSNL, Nasscom, Tata Communications, Nokia and others, however, said that the existing IPR regime is sufficient to regulate metaverse.

Nokia said that the biggest challenge in metaverse from an IPR perspective will stem from the application of generative AI but that challenge is not unique to metaverse. It suggested using blockchain with NFTs but reminded that by itself, it does “not offer any enforcement mechanisms” for IPR.

Most stakeholders agreed that existing regulation around content moderation is enough to regulate metaverse and that the technology is too new to frame guidelines. Most recommended that the TRAI should follow a “wait and watch” approach to not stifle innovation. Industry body Nasscom said that metaverse regulation could be addressed through the upcoming Digital India Act as well.

Meta, the owner of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, and the company that has been one of the biggest global proponents of metaverse, too agreed. It said that the metaverse is already governed by extant internet laws, but new issues might arise as metaverse, and related technologies develop. It called for “a robust and inclusive framework for dialogue” so that emerging issues can be discussed and gaps in regulation can be identified.

“Whether new regulation is necessary to address these potential new questions will need to be ascertained on a case-by-case basis, collaboratively and iteratively, and on an evidence-basis,” Meta wrote. It, however, called for metaverse policies to be expanded beyond regulation to include building common technical standards and protocols. It called for a baseline level of interoperability, akin to open internet protocols of today, so that metaverse is not fragmented and broken into silos. It also wants Indian policymakers to support international, multi-stakeholder efforts to develop baseline technical standards, and develop central and state level strategies.

Meta also wants discussion around how rules of behaviour in metaverse, where interactions are very similar to how they occur in the physical world, play out.

Most stakeholders said that the metaverse would increase the amount and range of personal data collected by metaverse operators. Meta itself pointed out that new technologies such as VR and AR devices come with the development of new sensors and novel data inputs, such as eye tracking in the Meta Quest Pro, that raise privacy and other concerns. These require technological and regulatory interventions, Meta said.

Other stakeholders said that the existing Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act and Consumer Protection Act would suffice, as long as they are rigourously implemented. Jio said that first a multi-regulator body is required to deal with the issue of jurisdiction in metaverse.

Both BIF and Meta want the Indian government to enable Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz spectrum. BIF wants the 6GHz spectrum to be made available without licensing to allow for 5G deployment as it is difficult for 5G to penetrate building and provide indoor coverage as it is primarily deployed in mid-band and higher frequency bands. To make 5G deployment indoors easier, Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 need to be allowed which work on 6GHz band. Both BIF and Meta said that low latency and jitter are necessary for AR and VR experience.

In its consultation paper, TRAI has posited internet of things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and metaverse as some of the key applications of 5G ecosystem. The regulatory body had sought inputs on three main issues: how to increase adoption of 5G and what are the barriers to this; how to increase adoption of IoT devices and how to develop regulatory policies to maintain user privacy and security of data; and third, how to regulate metaverse and issues of privacy and content moderation that may arise.

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