Madras High Court cancels YouTuber's bail An FIR was registered against Sattai Duraimurugan, as he allegedly made derogatory remarks against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has held that social media intermediaries like YouTube are duty-bound to block channels if their videos violate the terms of contract. Under the Information Technology Act, 2000,...
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Madras High Court cancels YouTuber's bail
An FIR was registered against Sattai Duraimurugan, as he allegedly made derogatory remarks against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has held that social media intermediaries like YouTube are duty-bound to block channels if their videos violate the terms of contract. Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, it is akin to breach of law.
In his judgment, single-judge Justice B Pugalendhi said, "It is the duty of the intermediaries to ascertain whether those videos are in accordance with their policies and guidelines and in terms of the contract. They should block the channels if the videos are not in accordance with the terms and policies. If it is not blocked or removed even after it was brought to their knowledge, the intermediaries are committing the offence under Section 69A (3) of the Information Technology Act."
It held that the intermediaries were not expected to insist on an FIR (first information report) or any court order to remove videos that violate their own guidelines, as per the terms of the agreement entered into between the intermediary and the content creator.
Justice Pugalendhi expressed concern over the manner in which social media platforms were being misused for making money by publishing obscene and derogatory content.
He stated, "Though there are provisions in the Information Technology Act, 2000, there is no implementation of the same by the concerned authorities. Therefore, the offences are growing rapidly under cyber-crime."
The court noted that some of the videos contained pornographic or horrific content, and tutorials for making guns, bombs, and hooch They carried derogatory and defamatory statements without any basis.
Showing much concern, the court stated, "These type of videos can be easily accessed by the current generation of kids. This could create chaos in their minds and affect their mental growth."
While pronouncing the judgment, Justice Pugalendhi quoted Albert Einstein, "I invented atomic energy for the upliftment of the human kind. I did not expect that the same would be used for disastrous effect. Had I anticipated the same, I would not have invented atomic energy."
He said that like with every scientific invention, misuse of the internet and social media was rampant, as was seen in the present case.
The court was considering a plea moved by the state to cancel the bail granted to YouTuber Sattai Duraimurugan. An FIR had been registered against Duraimurugan after he allegedly made derogatory remarks against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.
During the hearing, the court was informed that Duraimurugan was not an exception. Millions of people engaged on YouTube in similar activities and in the process, earned good money.
Considering the seriousness of the issue and its consequences, the court appointed advocate KK Ramakrishnan as amicus curiae. The advocate pointed out that some platforms, YouTube in particular, had formulated community guidelines. It meant that a channel could be suspended or permanently removed if it violated the terms.
Viewing it as an agreement or contract between YouTube and each channel on the platform, the court held the intermediaries responsible for any such act.
In Duraimurugan's case, the court found that on being granted bail, he continued to make videos with similar derogatory remarks. His bail was cancelled.