Sunday, January 29, 2012

Google And Facebook Must Comply With Indian Laws

Companies like Google, Facebook, etc are facing criminal trial in India. With the passage of time, more and more legal arsenal is now becoming available for Indian courts to hold these companies liable for violation of Indian laws. In fact, hints are now given that these companies are deliberately ignoring and violating Indian laws like copyright law, trademarks law and cyber law of India of which United States must take a serious and urgent notice.

Even laws of United States like Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 1998 (DMCA) and Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) are not complied with by many US companies and websites. A recent DMCA complaint filed with Google Incorporation and notice to Google India are still to be complied with as per US and Indian laws.

In fact, Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have also provided their suggestion for the strengthening of remedies for small copyright claims in US that covers acts or omissions of companies like Google as well. These suggestions also cover the practical difficulties that Indian nationals, companies and Indian government face while getting the offending contents removed from companies like Google, WordPress, etc.

The new privacy policy and terms of service of Google have been recently announced and the same would become applicable from 01-03-2012. It has many far reaching legal consequences that are applicable to Indian cyberspace as well. India must develop alternatives of DMCA complaint to Google, WordPress and other companies and websites. Wherever applicable, legal blocking of foreign websites in India as per Indian laws must also be performed.

We believe that India must take urgent steps so that companies and websites like Google, Facebook, etc comply with legal demands as per Indian laws as well. We suggest the following in this regard:

(1) All subsidiary/Joint ventures companies operating in India that deal in information technology and online environment, must mandatorily establish a server in India. Otherwise, such companies and their websites should not be allowed to operate in India.

(2) A stringent liability for Indian subsidiaries dealing in information technology and online environment must be established by laws of India.

(3) More stringent online advertisement and e-commerce provisions must be formulated for Indian subsidiary companies and their websites.

We at Perry4Law and PTLB believe that any attempt by Internet intermediaries to pre screen contents uploaded by users in India is not practical and feasible. However, we believe that cyber law due diligence by Internet intermediaries operating in India cannot be taken casually and with great disregard to India laws as is presently happening in India. If companies are not willing to follow either foreign laws like DMCA or Indian laws, they clearly lack the intention to comply with various legal frameworks.

In any case, companies and websites that have Indian existence and are deriving financial gains from India must adhere to India’s laws that they are currently flouting. We hope the lower court and Delhi High Court would consider these aspects as well while deciding the fate of these companies.