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Does YouTube make money from Govt content, HC asks Google

Is YouTube generating revenue from contents uploaded by the government?  This was a poser from the Delhi High Court today to Google which was asked to give a reply.

“We have been taken through the agreement between Google Ireland and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) dated February 1, 2013. An issue has arisen as to whether Google is making money out of MIB content which is placed on YouTube? 

“Counsel for Google Inc and Google India shall take instructions or file an affidavit answering the above query,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said. The matter came up when the court was hearing a PIL by filed by former BJP leader K N Govindacharya raising questions on social media usage by the government. Govindacharya’s lawyer, Virag Gupta, claimed in the court that YouTube generated revenue from contents uploaded by the government, prompting the court to raise the query.

Gupta also said that since the entity allegedly earned revenue from government content, it should pay taxes. Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain stated that an affidavit indicating agreements it has with other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp would be filed, as directed by the court earlier.

The court on the last date had said if the government does not file these documents, then it would have to state on affidavit that it does not have such agreements with those entities. After brief arguments, the court listed the matter for further hearing on March 9. On January 27 the government had filed the content licence agreement entered into with Google Ireland in 2013 with regard to content put up on YouTube.

The government had earlier in an affidavit told the court that its media wing and IT departments were using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter by entering into standard agreements and not any formal or separate deals. Gupta had told the court that as per contracts the government has with these companies, it was “transferring/ surrendering” all intellectual property rights of the data being uploaded.
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