Mediaah!: Is BCCL right in registering a copyright infringement complaint against Arnab Goswami?

17 May,2017

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

Is Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited (BCCL) right in registering a copyright infringement complaint against Arnab Goswami? Yes, it is. I am not sure how legally tenable the complaint is, but in my limited view, it was unethical. When the story was first aired on Republic TV on May 8, one couldn’t help sitting up and take notice. But then along with the various questions that Goswami raised in his ‘super exclusive’, there were some questions that I had.

 

The Economic Times report (Page 3, May 17, Mumbai edition)

See report in Economic Times on the complaint: link

In fact, I tweeted about it (see link).

The fact that it was only retweeted twice indicates that copyright and editorial ethics aren’t considered very critical and holy to many (or most?) in India. Copyright, it’s often joked, is the right to copy!

But this isn’t about copyright. That’s something for Times Network owners to take up with the Courts.

It’s an issue of ethics.

The recordings of the conversation between Prema Sridevi, the reporter and Shashi Tharoor or Sunanda Pushkar’s Man Friday was done when the reporter reportedly worked with Times Now. Unless her terms expressly stated it, or she was just a freelancer with the channel, the recordings belong to work done when the reporter was an employee.I am not sure what is the legal view on it, but it’s not ethical.

I am not even raising issues of why Goswami and Sridevi, now Editor-News at Repulic,  didn’t air the recording when they were in Times Now, but that’s not really my concern though it’s a question that must be answered.

The Nation wants to know…

 

**

 

All eyes are now on the BARC India numbers that will be out tomorrow (Thursday, May 18). Given all the promotions and distribution via multiple frequencies, it’s quite likely that Republic will be #1, but the question is that it’s not a play over one week. Republic can’t be spending so much monies on distribution as it’s today, so the real story will emerge after a few weeks when it opts of taking multiple frequencies.

To Goswami’s credit, his equity with viewers is huger than all the other anchors. The MxMIndia-MRSSINDIA poll earlier this week indicated that Rajdeep Sardesai is a close second and not a distant one in the trust factor, but it’s for India Today to use this to their advantage. Possibly promote Sardesai a little more.

We’re going to see some interesting times over the next few weeks or months. And we aren’t complaining

 

Pradyuman Maheshwari is Editor-in-Chief and founder, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own.

 

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