Prasar Bharati's Copyright Claims On PM Modi's Speeches Spark Outrage: Why Journalists Are Crying Foul

Prasar Bharati, India's state broadcaster, has stirred controversy by asserting copyright claims on YouTube videos featuring snippets of parliamentary sessions and the prime minister’s addresses. This move has sparked debates about the accessibility of government-generated content, especially when it's financed by the public.

What Happened? According to a report by The Print, Abhisar Sharma, a renowned journalist, was taken aback when he received copyright claims from Prasar Bharati on his videos, which included brief segments of publicly available speeches by the Prime Minister. This claim implies that Sharma can't monetize his videos, a significant blow as many independent journalists rely on YouTube for revenue.

Why are journalists upset? The scenario raises pressing questions about the essence of copyright laws in India. The Copyright Act of 1957 does encompass government-produced content, granting it protection. However, the prevailing sentiment among independent journalists is that content, pivotal for public discourse and funded by taxpayers, should be exempt from such stringent copyright constraints.

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Moreover, the claims underscore the precarious landscape independent journalists navigate on YouTube. Several have encountered abrupt removals of their content, deemed "inappropriate" by the platform, without any forewarning or explanation. This unpredictable environment is especially detrimental for those who depend on social media platforms for their livelihood.

A deeper dilemma: Prasar Bharati's unexpected copyright claims have ignited discussions about the balance between intellectual property rights and public access to government-created content. The unfolding events underscore the need for a reevaluation of copyright norms, ensuring they align with the principles of democracy and public discourse.

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