The popularity of online streaming platforms has grown significantly in recent years with the rapid advancement of technology and the prevalence of high-speed internet. Platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar are revolutionizing the entertainment industry, offering users vast libraries of movies, TV shows and original content. However, the growth of online streaming platforms has also created some copyright issues, especially in the Indian context. In this blog, we examine the intricacies of copyright law and the challenges facing Indian online streaming platforms. 


Copyright is a legal right given to the creator of an original work such as literature, music, cinema, or a work of art. This gives creators exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute and display their results, and prevents others from using or profiting from their work without permission. In India, copyright protection is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957, which provides the legal framework for protecting intellectual property rights. Section 13 of the Copyright Act 1957 protects all kinds of original literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, cinematographic and sound recording works. Unlike patents, copyright protects expressions, not ideas. 


1. License and Distribution:

Online streaming platforms face significant challenges in obtaining the necessary licenses and distribution rights for the content they offer. Indian films and TV shows are often produced by multiple parties such as producers, directors, music composers and screenwriters, complicating obtaining the necessary approvals from all parties. The lack of a centralized licensing mechanism makes it difficult for streaming platforms to ensure that content has all the necessary rights before making it available to users.

2. Copyright Infringement and Unauthorized Content:

Piracy is a common problem in India with numerous websites and platforms that host pirated movies and TV shows. These unauthorized sources pose a threat to the revenue streams of legitimate streaming platforms, and despite efforts by governments and content creators to curb piracy, the availability of pirated content remains a challenge. , impacting the overall growth and profitability of legitimate streaming platforms.

3. Subtitles and dubbing:

Online streaming platforms often localize their content by offering subtitles and dubbing in local languages ​​to appeal to a diverse audience in India. However, this approach raises copyright concerns, as translating the original content without proper permission from the copyright owner may violate proprietary rights. Streaming platforms must ensure they have the necessary subtitling and dubbing permits to avoid claims of copyright infringement.

4. User Generated Content:

Many streaming platforms allow users to upload and share content such as short films, sketches, and music covers. User-generated content can improve platform engagement and user experience, but it also raises copyright issues. Platforms may be held liable for violations on their Platforms and must implement robust systems to monitor and prevent unauthorized use of copyrighted material in User Generated Content. 


There have been several copyright lawsuits in Indian courts in recent years related to online streaming platforms. These lawsuits have highlighted the challenges faced by both content creators and streaming platforms in navigating complex copyright law.

A notable case is the dispute with Lahiri Music Pvt. Inc. and Spotify, Lahiri Music has filed a lawsuit against the music streaming platform for copyright infringement. The court ruled in Lahiri Music’s favor, finding that Spotify did not obtain the necessary licenses to stream Lahiri Music’s copyrighted songs. The lawsuit highlights the importance of securing proper licenses and highlights the legal risks for streaming platforms that fail to do so.

Another important incident involved the popular film Padmavat, which faced a lot of controversy before its release. Various groups claimed the film distorted historical facts and violated cultural rights. Ultimately, the court dismissed these motions and granted the necessary rights to release the film. The lawsuit highlights the challenges filmmakers and streaming platforms face in dealing with objections based on cultural and historical sensibilities. 


Online streaming platforms are transforming the way we consume entertainment, offering convenient and diverse content. However, copyright issues remain a major challenge for these platforms, especially in the Indian context. Licensing complexities, copyright infringement, subtitling and dubbing issues, and user-generated content pose legal risks, so copyright laws must be carefully observed. As the online streaming industry continues to grow, we believe that platforms should work with content creators and copyright owners to ensure a sustainable and compliant ecosystem, respecting intellectual property rights while providing users with a seamless entertainment experience. It is important to work with.

Name: Pradeep Singh Manola

5th year law student at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University

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