Will Netflix/YouTube require a license to operate in Nepal? – myRepublic

With the government’s recent amendment to the National Broadcasting Regulations 1995, a key question has arisen: will foreign companies providing broadcasting services, including OTT and VOD via the Internet, comply with the Regulations?

We have been hearing for a very long time about the government’s intention to regulate Over the Top (OTT) and internet content program services in Nepal. Well, the wait is over as the government recently proposed an amendment to the National Broadcasting Regulation 1995 (2052).

The 11th Amendment to the Regulations included OTT, Video on Demand (VOD) and Internet TV with the definition of other means of communication. With the said inclusion, the regulations now require OTT and Internet TV to provide its service in Nepal. The term OTT has been defined as the service of displaying programs according to consumer demand via the Internet without using the means of a DTH cable or satellite and this term also includes media streaming services via other platforms. -forms by means of the internet. In addition, Internet TV (Internet TV) includes the regular act of transmitting the self-produced audiovisual program through the Internet.

This definition will require popular streaming service providers such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. obtain approval from Ministry of Communication and Technology, Government of Nepal. The regulation further provided the mandatory requirement of cache server in Nepal if the OTT service provider intends to make members or customers in Nepal or acquire any kind of fees from Nepal. This also required storing user information on the Nepal server. In addition, OTT service providers must keep a record of the programs they transmit for at least 60 days and these must also be made available to the ministry and other government authorities under investigation.

Content to be displayed via OTT must also be subject to age categorization. A ‘U’ rating should be categorized for such content that is suitable for all age groups where an ‘A’ rating is given to content for the age group above 18. Similarly, an “R” rating is given to content appropriate for age groups 10-18.

The regulations also provide that the Ministry may take charge of such equipment or take steps to prohibit the operation of such equipment which has been used to transmit or communicate the program in an unauthorized manner without obtaining the necessary license or approvals. , as required by regulation.

Since the regulations require mandatory approval from the ministry in order to distribute content via the Internet in Nepal, it will be interesting to see whether foreign companies providing such services to users based in Nepal comply with these provisions. Due to the limited number of market users in Nepal, service providers are unlikely to be willing to register in Nepal as this may also trigger other compliance requirements under the laws of Nepal. Also, it would be too important to see what the government’s next step would be, as the regulations say nothing about when to comply with these requirements and what it would do to foreign OTT service providers if they did not comply. not meet the licensing requirement of the regulations.

(Suman Siwakoti is a corporate lawyer who deals with issues related to data privacy and e-commerce.)

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