Recognition of Online Streaming Platforms as ‘Broadcasting Organisation’ under Section 31d of The Copyright Act, 1957: An Analytical Study

  • Nathishia Rebecca Chandy
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  • Nathishia Rebecca Chandy

    Student at CHRIST(Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India

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In March 2019, the Bombay High Court in the case of Tips Industries Ltd. v. Wynk Music Ltd. and Anr, ruled that online streaming platforms like Spotify, Saavn, Gaana etc, do not fall within the ambit of ‘broadcasting organisations’ under Section 31 D of the Copyright (Amendment)Act,2012 and therefore, will not be entitled to receive statutory licenses . This decision raised split opinion as to the status of online streaming sites with respect to statutory licensing, since the term ‘broadcasting organization’ does not find a definition under the Act. The Judicial interpretation of the term and the Legislative Amendment to the Act proposed in 2019, contradict each other. The latter clarifies that it was the legislature’s intent to include online streaming platforms within the ambit of ‘broadcasting organizations’, yet leaving the qualifications of a ‘broadcasting organization’ under the Act, unspecified. The lack of legislative clarity warrants excessive judicial interpretation by different courts each overruling previous judgments based on the Court’s interpretation of the law, which is equally inefficient as it is unnecessary. This paper intends to criticize and counter the decision of the Bombay High Court, and make a case for the inclusion of internet streaming services into the statutory licensing scheme providing both economic and experiential justifications. It will also analyze the insufficiencies of the existing statutory licensing framework, suggest reforms and propose standards and guidelines for the setting of fair and reasonable royalty rates by the Copyright Board.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 2, Page 1525 - 1544


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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


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