New Regulations for Digital Rights Management in India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued new regulations regarding Digital Rights Management (DRM) in the country. The purpose of DRM is to protect copyrighted digital media from unauthorized redistribution and limit consumers’ ability to make copies of purchased content.

DRM products were developed in response to the rise of online piracy, which became widespread through peer-to-peer file exchange programs. Typically, DRM is implemented through embedded code that prevents copying, limits the access period, or restricts the number of devices on which the media can be installed.

In 2017, TRAI introduced the Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable System) Regulation, which aimed to regulate the broadcasting and cable services. However, during consultations for the preparation of the Audit Manual, certain issues were raised regarding DRM specifications.

To address these concerns, TRAI released draft regulations in 2019 that included DRM requirements in the Interconnection Regulations. The Authority received feedback from various stakeholders during the consultation process and decided to further deliberate on the system requirements for DRM.

A committee comprising industry stakeholders was formed to prepare a report on the system requirements for DRM. After extensive discussions, the committee submitted its report to TRAI, which then issued a consultation paper on the subject in 2022. Stakeholders were invited to provide their comments and suggestions.

After analyzing the feedback received, TRAI has now notified amendments to the Interconnection Regulations. The key features of the amendments include the introduction of a new schedule for DRM system requirements, covering various aspects such as subscriber management systems, conditional access, encryption, fingerprinting, and STBs.

The new regulations aim to create an enabling and technology-neutral regulatory regime that promotes growth and development while safeguarding the interests of both service providers and consumers. These regulations are expected to foster the overall growth of the digital media industry in India.

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