Is Youtube making money out of I&B ministry’s content, HC asks Google

New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked Google Inc and Google India whether its video sharing site Youtube was making money out of content placed by the Indian information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the counsel representing Google to take instruction in this regard and file an affidavit on the issue.

Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for former BJP ideologue K.N. Govindacharya, who filed the PIL, told the court that the government has given rights to its contents to Google free of cost which he said was “illegal”.

He added that Google is using the same content to generate money through advertisements.

To this, the bench said: “Youtube is accessible to millions, so government is actually saving money. If the government is to telecast an event through Youtube, is it not a free of cost advertisement for it?”

It also asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain to file affidavit on agreements that the central government has with other companies such as Facebook, Twitter and other social networking app like Whatsapp.

During the hearing, advocate Gupta also alleged that Google was dodging the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of spending 2 per cent of its average net profit in India.

CSR is an enforceable law in India under the Companies Act and applies to Indian Companies including foreign companies operating in India with effect from April 1, 2014.

He further contended that as per contracts the government has with Google, it was “transferring/ surrendering” all intellectual property rights of the data being uploaded. He added: “These are government data and its rights cannot be surrendered.”

The court was hearing a PIL by filed by Govindacharya raising questions on social media usage by the government.

The next hearing will be held on March 9.

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