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ShareChat removes TikTok exclusive content: Can platforms with IT Act immunity claim exclusivity?


Levelling allegations against each other isn’t new thing between TikTok-Helo and ShareChat. After yet another legal notice, vernacular centric social network ShareChat has removed video clips uploaded by its users that originally belonged to TikTok.

As per the agreement between the app and creators, the Bytedance-owned TikTok claims to holds exclusive patent rights over certain content and possess all the rights to take any legal action, including takedown request as well.

According to the exclusive partnership with TikTok, some content generated by users for TikTok can’t be used or shared by a similar platform. The law enforcing authorities and government agencies also recognise such partnerships.

Since ShareChat has been served several notices to take down a set of the particular type of contents along with exclusive contracts signed between TikTok and content creators, ShareChat took down those content.

However, technology experts doubt whether TikTok’s exclusivity claim will affect the intermediary status social media platforms enjoy under the IT Act, highlighted an ET report.

Besides, social media platforms Facebook and YouTube have also uploaded TikTok video compilations. It’s not known whether these platforms have also received any notice against it or not.

TikTok, which counts ShareChat among its major competitors, has an estimated 200 million users in India. It recently deleted 60 lakh videos from the platform after facing regulatory heat from the government.

Previously, ShareChat dragged ByteDance to court for copying its product in October 2018. As a result, the Delhi High Court had refrained the Bytedance from using ShareChat as an ad-word on Google.

Bytedance and ShareChat have been locked in an intense battle to bring more users. Content generated by users on both apps is being shared widely on Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp. Controlling dissemination of content through these platforms are very hard to contain.

WhatsApp and Facebook are the reliable channels of distribution for watermarked content of ShareChat as well as TikTok.

Importantly, platforms like TikTok and ShareChat sought legal protection under IT Act from liability of ownership of content. If they are claiming ownership of some content, they are likely to lose this protection.

So, the question arises – can platform under the IT Act can claim exclusivity? If they do so, will they lose immunity under the act? These are some questions which will be answered from observation of government and legal authorities.

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