IMI urges metaverse accountability for intellectual property rights

The Indian Music Industry (IMI), representing major labels such as T-Series and Sony Music, is pushing for increased accountability for metaverse operators in cases of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement.

In response to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s consultation on Digital Transformation through the 5G Ecosystem, IMI has called for shared responsibility between metaverse operators and users when it comes to safeguarding the rights of creators and users.

Blaise Fernandes, CEO and President of IMI, expressed concerns about the potential extension of safe harbour protection to the metaverse. He highlighted the challenges faced by rightsholders in enforcing copyrights, especially within the music industry, where user-generated content platforms already claim safe harbour protection. Fernandes argued that extending this protection to the metaverse could lead to irreparable losses for creators, artists, and rightsholders, potentially hindering the growth of the recorded music industry in India.

While IMI emphasizes the need for shared accountability, stakeholders like Meta, Jio, VI, BSNL, Nasscom, Tata Communications, and Nokia believe that the existing IPR regime is adequate to regulate the metaverse. Nokia pointed out the potential challenges arising from generative AI application in the metaverse and suggested exploring blockchain with NFTs, albeit acknowledging its limitations in offering enforcement mechanisms for IPR.

Most stakeholders agreed that existing regulations concerning content moderation are sufficient for metaverse regulation, considering the newness of the technology. They recommend a cautious “wait and watch” approach by TRAI to avoid stifling innovation. Nasscom suggested addressing metaverse regulation through the upcoming Digital India Act.

Meta, a key proponent of the metaverse, agreed that the metaverse is already governed by existing internet laws but acknowledged the possibility of new issues emerging as the technology develops.

Meta called for a comprehensive framework for dialogue to discuss emerging issues and identify regulatory gaps, emphasizing a case-by-case approach to ascertain the necessity of new regulations.

Regarding the increased collection of personal data by metaverse operators, stakeholders discussed the sufficiency of existing acts like the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act and Consumer Protection Act, provided they are rigorously implemented.

Jio proposed the establishment of a multi-regulator body to address jurisdictional issues in the metaverse. Both BIF and Meta urged the Indian government to enable Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz spectrum, emphasizing the necessity of low latency and jitter for an optimal augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experience.

In its consultation paper, TRAI highlighted the key applications of the 5G ecosystem, including the internet of things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and the metaverse.

The regulatory body sought input on increasing 5G adoption, addressing barriers, promoting IoT devices, developing regulatory policies for user privacy and data security, and regulating the metaverse, considering privacy and content moderation issues that may arise.

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