FDI IN DIGITAL MEDIA - A CASE FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATION

 

The Government of India recently issued a clarification on FDI in digital media sector. The pre-cursor to this clarification is Press Note 4 of 2019 (“Press Note 4”) that allowed up to 26% FDI in entities engaged in uploading/ streaming of news and current affairs through digital media platforms under the Government approval route, similar to the print media sector. We have analysed the implications of the recent clarifications on entities that are engaged in the digital media sector.

Press Note 4 did not provide a definition of “Digital Media” and accordingly there were concerns regarding entities that fall within its ambit. The Government of India therefore issued the “Clarification on FDI Policy for uploading/streaming of news and current affairs through Digital Media” on October 16, 2020 (“Clarification”). The Clarification inter alia provides that Press Note 4 shall apply to the following types of entities registered or located in India:
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Digital Transformation in Law - Technology

The era of the digital revolution has put technology and its use at the forefront. Technology is now recognised as an enabler, necessary for growth and the way forward. The earliest use of LegalTech can be traced to eDiscovery which also was not the easiest to adopt in early days but has now become a routine. Today we have a number of good technologies making way in document review, contract management, abstraction and automation, data analytics in legal research and comprehending client engagements and invoices, electronic signatures, dissecting practices and introducing process workflows through a case management system, transcription services and no code platforms to create new digital service models that strengthen client relationships.
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Digital Transformation in Law - People, Process and Technology

Covid-19 has brought the world to a halt but with all the challenges it brings, it has also given the legal industry a rare opportunity to change the way we have been practicing and conducting the business of law.  Over the past few weeks, we have seen the stage being set for making the change, the change that we all have been assessing and contemplating and have yet always resisted and to some extent ignored.  The magnitude of the change requires all stakeholders to contribute and participate towards making this a reality.  It is now time for us to come together to convert Covid – 19 into a positive opportunity for the legal fraternity. The change we need to make is based on the framework of People, Process and Technology. For driving organisational efficiencies, it is the people who work with processes and technology to deliver greatest results. Going forward it will be essential for all three elements to work in sync for a smooth transition.
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Cryptocurrency in India

On March 4, 2020, the Supreme Court of India (“Court”) in Internet and Mobile Association of India v. Reserve Bank of India[1] (“Judgement”) set aside the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) on April 6, 2018 (“Circular”)[2]. This Judgment marks the second occasion, in recent times, when the Supreme Court has reversed a policy decision of the RBI [3]. The Circular had restricted all entities regulated by the RBI, including nationalised banks, scheduled commercial banks, NBFCs, cooperative banks, payment system operators and other intermediaries (“Regulated Entities”) from dealing in or providing services for facilitating ‘any person or entity dealing with, or settling’ virtual currencies.

Thus, while the Circular did not expressly proscribe peer-to-peer trading in virtual currencies, it severely restricted the conversion of virtual currency into fiat currencies and impaired the ability of businesses which dealt with virtual currencies to access financial services in India.
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Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 - Analysis

A draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (“Bill”) has been introduced before the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2019.

The Bill is based, in large part, on the proposed draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 (“Draft Bill”) which was attached to the report submitted to the Government by the Committee of Experts constituted under the Chairmanship of Justice Srikrishna (Retd.) (for details see our analysis[1] of the Draft Bill and its comparison with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation[2] (“GDPR”)[3] ).

That being said, the Bill also includes several modifications and changes in scope and intent.
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To Bet or Not to Bet - Sports Betting Laws in India

As the society changes, the law cannot remain immutable”

– Justice D P Madon

They say cricket is not a game, it is a religion. In 2019, the India – Pakistan ICC World Cup match saw a viewership of 229 million within India itself[1]. The importance of cricket as a unifying force cannot be debated and needn’t be proved; what is rather interesting is the ancillary impact a simple match of cricket can have on an economy, such as India.

Economic exploitation of cricket is widespread globally: it includes broadcasting rights, sponsorship and merchandising, to name a few. However, another prevalent and illegal exploitation in the form of betting takes precedence over all of the above, for the simple reason that due to the nature of the transaction, the said consideration paid, is officially taken out of India’s financial system and put into a parallel industry, which remains untaxed and unregulated.
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Legal Conundrum of Real Money Online Poker 

Indian mythology suggests that playing and losing at a game of dice led to the Pandava brothers, their wife and mother being sent to exile. Regardless of this cautionary tale, the online gaming market in India has taken off in India with revenues reaching Rs. 43.8 billion in FY 18 and expected to grow to Rs. 118.8 billion by 2023.[1]

The question of whether the state should permit businesses relating to betting and gambling was hotly debated in the Constituent Assembly Debates, with several members opposing constitutional sanction to betting and gambling activities. Members drew support for their argument from sources as varied as the apocryphal sufferings of the Pandavas to the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.

Notwithstanding their opposition, List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Indian Constitution places matters relating to betting and gambling within the legislative purview of state governments. This compromise allowed state governments to choose to either prohibit or regulate (and tax) activities relating to betting and gambling.
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