Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market – the EU Controversy Explained

Here’s why the internet could potentially have broken!

Till a month ago, the world waited with bated breath as members of the European Parliament contemplated a proposed directive to herald a new Copyright Law within the European Union. This Directive aims to create a digital single market and has been named as such. However, the proposal has been a hotbed for controversy right since its very inception in 2016. While many advocate both for and against its enforcement, not all understand why so many open letters were written to the Parliament, especially by internet giants like Wikipedia and why Facebook and Google staunchly opposed it as well. On the other hand, stalwarts of the entertainment industry, especially sound and music, were vehemently in favour of the law. 

The Parliament, in its esteemed wisdom, did not bite the bullet and sent the proposal back for revision. It will now be tabled again in September which is but a momentary…

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Law is organic. It is ever-evolving. Its most difficult challenge, however, is to evolve as quickly as the changes being embraced by the society. It is indeed a tough task considering the breakneck speed at which we are advancing. Arguably, the biggest fear facing society today is the probable inability of law to keep pace […]

via DNA Technology Bill – Everything You Need to Know — LawSkills blog

No Reform in Procedure for Allotment of Cases: Supreme Court

On 6th July, 2018, the Supreme Court laid to rest yet another debate on the question of judicial accountability. In the case of Shanti Bhushan vs. Supreme Court of India and Ors. MANU/SC/0702/2018, a petition filed by Senior Advocate and Former Law Minister, Mr. Shanti Bhushan, it had been contended that concentration of unfettered powers in a single person was anti-democratic. Thus, reforms in the process of determination of were sought.  While conceding that the Chief Justice of India was indeed the Master of Roster, it was argued that the process of allocating cases should be determined by the collegium of senior most judges instead of the CJI alone so as to prevent abuse of power. While the 2 judge bench of Hon’ble Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan decided not to act upon the said petition, they did shed considerable light on judicial accountability and the qualities that need to be possessed by judges. The opinion of the judges have been summarized as follows –

  • On the petitioner’s contention that the role of CJI as the ‘master of roster’ was not based on any constitutional provision, Justice Sikri expressly acknowledged that the Constitution is silent on the role of Chief Justice as the Master of the Roster. However, he added that this role was “based upon healthy practice and sound conventions which have been developed over a period of time and that stands engrafted in the Supreme Court Rules.”
  • Reliance was placed on the cases of Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms vs. Union of India & Anr. And the Asok Pande Case which affirmed the powers of the CJI as the master of the roster. Further, these cases reaffirmed that the CJI was an institution in himself and, thus, his administrative power of allocating cases cannot be delegated to the Collegium.
  • It was observed that –

This kind of system which is devised for the appointment of Judges cannot be replicated when it comes to the role of the Chief Justice as Master of Roster. We have to keep in mind that the Chief Justice, as the head of the Supreme Court of India, and the Chief Justices of the High Courts, have to perform many other functions, on the administrative side, in their capacities as Chief Justices. Framing of the Roster and constituting the Benches is one among them. In case the expression ‘Chief Justice’ is to be interpreted as ‘Collegium’, it would be difficult to have smooth day to day functioning of the Supreme Court, or for that matter the High Courts.

  • However, Justice Sikri reiterated the role of the CJI as that of being ‘first amongst the equals” and thereby clarified that the bench to which a case has been allotted will have complete dominion over the case.
  • The Bench further outlined the qualities to be possessed by a judge such as –

– Wisdom

– Patience

– Fairness and Balance

– Independence of Mind

– Knowledge of the Law

– Moral Courage or Fortitude

– Sense of Practical Reality

– Commitment to Administration of Justice in Accordance with Law

Thus, the Supreme Court has once again refused to entertain reforms to the CJI’s power as master of the roster as against transparency in the procedure of allocating cases. A huge furor had been created in this regard in a press conference on January 12, 2018 wherein the 4 senior most judges of the Supreme Court had expressed concerns about this very issue. However, status quo has been maintained as of now.

Full text of this judgment can be found at – Shanti Bhushan vs. Supreme Court of India and Ors. MANU/SC/0702/2018

The Controversy Behind EU’s Digital Single Market Economy Explained

Till a fortnight ago, the world waited with bated breath as the members of the European Parliament contemplated a proposed directive to herald a new Copyright Law within the European Union. This Directive aims to create a digital single market and has been named as such. However, the proposal has been a hotbed for controversy right since its very inception in 2016. While many advocate both for and against its enforcement, not all understand why so many open letters were written to the Parliament, especially by internet giants like Wikipedia and why Facebook and Google staunchly opposed it. While stalwarts of the entertainment industry, especially sound and music, were vehemently in favour of the law.

The Parliament, in its esteemed wisdom, did not bite the bullet and sent the proposal back for revision. It will now be tabled again in September which is but a momentary respite from all the brouhaha.

For all those wondering why the internet generation cried rivers together, here’s a breakdown of why this Directive was touted as being the next step in surveillance and would have ‘broken’ the internet.

The primary issue revolved around Articles 11 and 13 of the Directive, popularly known as the ‘link tax’ and ‘meme ban’, respectively.

In short, Article 11 would have made it impossible for websites like Wikipedia, news aggregators like Google and media monitoring companies to upload even snippets of news articles from sources like the BBC without first paying a license fee to the original publishers. Hence, the link tax nomenclature. You would be taxed for linking to another’s original content.

On the other hand, the meme ban would have required all content sought to be uploaded on the internet to first be filtered for plagiarization so as to prevent infringement of copyright. All internet companies and websites would have to automatically filter the content and no exceptions was provided for honest/genuine parodies, memes, vines, etc. It needs no mention that the cost of developing and installing such auto-filtering software would have been humongous for the companies, especially considering the huge amount of data that is sought to be uploaded every second of every day.

Additionally, such filtering would also have enabled the authorities to monitor or ‘surveil’ internet usage of the people. Someone seeking to upload copyrighted material, in any form irrespective of the intention, would have raised red flags. Opponents of the directive had gone as far as to say that this would have made even made NSA’s surveillance look like child’s play.

As of yet, it is not clear which Articles of the proposed Directive will be revised before re-tabling. However, it is hoped that all genuine points raised by stakeholders in the industry will be given due consideration. Or else, the internet as we know it will change forever.

Union Cabinet Approves DNA Technology Bill – All You Need to Know About the Law in Making

Law is organic. It is ever-evolving. Its most difficult challenge, however, is to evolve as quickly as the changes being embraced by the society. It is indeed a tough task considering the breakneck speed at which we are advancing. Arguably, the biggest fear facing society today is the probable inability of law to keep pace with advancement in technology.

We cannot govern what the law has not envisaged. And, what is ungoverned can very likely cause anarchy and disruption, to say the least.

However, technology, while being a worthy adversary to law, is also an indispensable ally. With ingenious criminals harnessing a devilish kind of creativity these days, it is technology which makes it possible to even detect crimes in the first place, leave alone nabbing the culprits.

Thus, the Union Cabinet’s approval of the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 granted today comes as a welcome and much-needed reprieve. This Bill, in essence, is aimed towards expanding the scope of application of DNA-based forensic technologies in order to assist the justice delivery system in India. No one can disagree about the usefulness of such technology in bringing crimes home to criminals, providing relief to victims and their families and serving justice to the society at large.

This Bill provides for mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories ensuring the reliability of test results and protection of data from misuse or abuse.

Thus, this Bill hopes to achieve an expedited delivery of justice and a heightened rate of conviction. The comprehensiveness and ambit of the Bill will enable cross matching of DNA samples so as to reconcile cases of missing persons with the discoveries of unidentified bodies all across the country in the hope of establishing identity of victims.

Similarly, in cases of crimes that are committed against the human body, such as violent crimes like murder, rape, causing grievous hurt, or physical contact crimes like kidnapping, trafficking, abduction, etc. as well as crimes against property where the culprit might leave behind some imprint of himself (like burglary, theft, etc.) can now be solved easily with Forensic DNA profiling that is part and package of this Bill.

Presently, only a small percentage of such cases go through the process of DNA testing. However, with the expanded use of this technology envisaged in the Bill, criminals of India need to beware!

Law as a Career – Stride to Success

Find out how to build a career in law and what to expect!

Careers-in-Law_Without-Text

The Indian education system, by default, creates multiple stages of stress in the academic journey of students. Arguably, the most intense amongst these is the Higher Secondary Examination (HSC or 12th board). HSC students are on the verge of choosing their life path (well, almost) after their exams. This dilemma is unexplainable – for some, it is the lack of options, and for others, it is the ocean of options to choose from. Either way, it is a huge stress on young minds.

Law as a profession offers a plethora of career avenues for students to explore and conquer. Thus, it is no surprise that more and more youngsters these days are gravitating towards law as their preferred choice of career and with good reasons. For every person with proficiency in communication, keen and logical reasoning, analytical skills and capacity to read and imbibe – legal sphere is the…

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Little Fingers, Tiny Toes #3 – Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse

Hello everyone! If you’ve stuck around long enough, you’d recall I’d written a tiny series on child labour and sexual abuse or, rather, on everything that is wrong in our society today when it comes to protecting our little ones and ensuring they grow up in a healthy environment. Well, recently I switched jobs from being a full-time corporate lawyer to a legal editor at a self-paced e-learning platform, Yes, yes, I get paid to read and write. I really am living the dream! More on that later, however, I have more important things to discuss today.

One of the courses I created at my new workplace was on Sexual Violence Against Children: Inform -> Prevent -> Protect. I’ve tried my best to craft it in a way that it can appeal to the sensibilities and intelligence of every member of the society. Right from parents, teachers, medical professionals to small kids.

Believe me, I have tried to do my bit by breaking the taboo surrounding this topic, spreading awareness on its prevalence and have tried to include tips, advise, guidelines on how to prevent such instances from happening around us, how to identify signs of sexual abuse in children we come into contact with since they, of course, are absolutely clueless, etc. I do believe there is a special place in hell for those who harm children. If you’re of the same opinion, would you mind going over and taking a look at the course? Inform your family and friends maybe? It’s a free course (although you do get a certificate on successful completion), designed to spread the word. Registration and enrolment on the website is also absolutely free. Try it and save a child, will you? I’m providing the details down below –

http://www.lawskills.in/CourseName/126/certification-on-sexual-violence-against-children

Thank you so much, guys! This really means a lot to me.

Disclaimer: I am not trying to sell a course here. As mentioned in the post, it’s absolutely free. Although I would give an arm and a leg to get your feedback on it!

Walmart Set to Acquire Flipkart – Market Competition Set to go into a Tizzy — Law and Little Things

There has been a lot of brouhaha surrounding rumours of Flipkart being taken over by either Amazon or Walmart. Amidst speculation, an underlying deeper concern was the potential impact on small-time traders, retailers and market economy as well. While the battle of the giants ended in favour of Walmart which, on 9th May, 2018, […]

via Walmart Set to Acquire Flipkart – Market Competition Set to go into a Tizzy — Law and Little Things

A Little Knowledge Need Not be a Dangerous Thing – Presenting #LegisOrbis

Hey guys,
I’ll be going a little off topic today. Well, I say off topic because today’s post is not poetry or prose related – but if you consider the fact that I’m a lawyer by profession, it would definitely make sense.
I was wondering how often is it that lawyers and non-lawyers alike are miffed, baffled and, at times, left completely out of the loop when it comes to important aspects of our country’s governance? Yes, I’m speaking of parliamentary updates and passing of new, path-breaking judgments that end up being nothing more than latin and greek to the common man? What I find to be unreasonably ironical is that these people, who are unable to understand what just happened, are the ones who’d be most affected by these updates. Are you following me?

Let me make this simpler – out of all my European friends, how many actually understand GDPR (General Data Protectio Regulation), the law coming into effect on 25th May,2018 aimed at protecting their own personal and private data?

How many of us Indians are still trying hard to figure out the finer nuances of GST (Goods and Services Tax) in an attempt to not get swindled by every other trader out there?

Do I make sense now?

It’s an unfortunate situation, right?

Well, what if I tell you there’s a platform that not only decodes all such information but literally provides it at your doorsteps – nah – fingertips!?

I came across Legis Orbis recently and, trust me, I’ve become a convert. In an age where every media house has its own axe to grind, has not-so-hidden political agenda and what matters most is ratings and profits – here’s a forum dedicated to only delivering bare facts in the fastest and most reliable manner possible.

Coming down to brass tacks, if you’re interested in the developments taking place in our country and want to know the direction in which it’s heading – just like every responsible citizen and member of the society should be – it’ll be worth your while to go check out Legis Orbis. You don’t need to take just my word for it and subscribe – there are trials available for you to make up your own minds. But hey, when you can trust me with pleasing your thirst for poetry at times – then I’m sure you can take a leap of faith and go check out this brilliant new endeavour by a team of dedicated, hard-working people who are bound to become path-breaker. I’m providing access links to the platform’s pages down below for ready reference!

Legis Orbis

Twitter Page

Instagram Account

Also, I would love to hear your views on the questions I’ve raised in the beginning of the post. So, if you could please be so kind as to leave a quick word in the comments section down below, pretty please?

As always –

Love,

Varnika

PS – This is not a paid promotion. Nor has there been any quid pro quo. Like I keep saying, I’m not a big enough blogger for that yet. But hey, if you think otherwise, then thank you, i am indeed very honoured! (Internal me – haha, fooled ya!)