Delhi High Court has said that video-sharing website YouTube was obliged not to host any content which violates the laws currently in force. The ruling came on a plea by Tata Sky seeking removal of videos from YouTube on how to crack the encryption of set top boxes of the company. “In terms of Rule 3(1)(e) of the Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines, YouTube is obliged not to host content that violates any law for the time being in force,” Justice S Muralidhar said. The court also said that in cases where YouTube would be required to act immediately, it should not insist upon the complainant to demonstrate that the complaint falls in the categories identified by it for taking action.
The court had earlier, on August 27 last year, passed an interim order directing the video-sharing website to remove the content objected to by Tata Sky. YouTube, on August 10 this year, submitted it has complied with the direction of the court and has removed the URLs of the videos. It told the court that had Tata Sky not been unclear about the kind of violation that had taken place, YouTube may have acted even more promptly than it did to take down the offending material from its website. Tata Sky had contended that under the ITIG Rules the website was obliged to act with promptitude once it was clear that the offending videos were illegal.
The court said, “There could be complaints regarding some material on the website of YouTube which by their very nature require it to act immediately without insisting on the complainant having to clearly demonstrate that the complaint falls within one or the other category that YouTube has identified for the purposes of acting on such complaints.”
The court observed that in the instant case, the video sharing website’s review team appeared to have “got into a bind about correctly categorising” the complaint “instead of actually taking a call on whether the nature of the content required taking down”. “If it (YouTube) had focused on the latter aspect the need for Tata Sky to have approached this court for relief could have been avoided,” the court said. Since YouTube had removed the offending URLs and also submitted that in future it will act immediately when it receives such complaints, the court disposed of Tata Sky’s plea.