TikTok faces govt scrutiny over notice to ShareChat: Report

TikTok faces govt scrutiny over notice to ShareChat: Report
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27 Aug, 2019

The TikTok-ShareChat content takedown issue has taken another turn with the government now asking how TikTok can call itself social media intermediary while also claiming rights to original videos, The Economic Times reported.

Last week, ByteDance Technology-owned TikTok had asked social networking and regional content platform Sharechat to remove videos uploaded by its users. ShareChat had abided by the notice and removed the contents from its platform.

The government has now raised questions if this move will affect TikTok’s social media intermediary status.

ShareChat has also written to the government, arguing TikTok’s claim on the exclusivity of its content is not consistent with its declared intermediary status, it confirmed to TechCircle without divulging any further information.

"TikTok welcomes Indian creators to be part of a safe and positive environment that upholds users' content and intellectual property rights. The platform does not exercise editorial control over users' content, which is produced entirely under users' sole discretion. However, Tiktok may enter into a mutual contractual agreement with some creators where TikTok may enjoy certain exclusivity rights over the content of these creators. In this regard, TikTok has undertaken legal action as part of its commitment to protect its users from copyright infringement," TikTok said in a statement.

Intermediary status means the platform doesn’t own any content. This exempts TikTok from taking the liability of content appearing on the platform or claim exclusivity.

Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000 prevents intermediaries from initiating any transmissions, selecting the receiver, and selecting/modifying the information contained in the transmission, Sharechat said in its petition to the government.

Last month, the Supreme Court had refused to allow a plea by TikTok, which sought to transfer a case against the company in the Madras High Court to the apex court.

In an April 3 order, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had asked the central government to ban downloads of TikTok in response to a petition filed by a Madurai-based lawyer and social activist.