Nuances Of Dispute Redressal Between Media And Technology

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Nuances Of Dispute Redressal Between Media And Technology

Written By: Shreem Thite

Introduction

In recent years, the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sector has developed by leaps and bounds. Deals go wrong, partnerships sour, or things don’t go according to plan, and with quick, sometimes cross-border expansion and an increasing reliance on technology comes the unavoidable agony of disputes. There are already a great number of TMT-related disputes around the world, many of which involve large sums of money.

The object of dispute resolution is for the parties to resolve their disagreements amicably. The backbone of the dispute resolution system is the judiciary’s minimal intervention. In this system, the function of information technology is critical. Information technology allows for easier communication, which aids in the prevention and resolution of problems. In this regard, the contribution of media and technology is laudable. The quality of dispute resolution will have an impact on how conflicts are resolved. The discrepancies that develop in the acquisition of records may be reduced informally by the information service providers. The same can be said for the other way around. Service providers who misuse information technology may reduce the effectiveness of dispute resolution procedures. This complicates the ADR system’s ability to function effectively.

Increase In The Role Of Dispute Resolution Pertaining To Media And Technology

Because of its status as a recognized informal system with almost little judicial intrusion, the role of information technology in dispute resolution has grown dramatically. This necessitates a series of experiments in dispute settlement, aided by the ever-advancing information revolution. Because disputes and ADR processes entail information exchange, transfer, communication, and presentation, such “information” can take the form of written words, spoken words, numerical data, presentations such as money, latitude, longitude, visual images, moving visual images, audio, or other sensory data.

According to a 2016 survey of the TMT sector performed by Queen Mary University of London (International Dispute Resolution Survey – Pre-empting and Resolving Technology, Media, and Telecoms Issues), 23% of respondents had experienced more than 20 TMT disputes in recent years. The QMU study also highlighted the most prevalent categories of TMT conflicts, which included IP, licensing, regulatory, supply chain, and consumer problems, albeit the types of disputes found in the various technology, media, and telecoms businesses varied. The Silicon Valley Arbitration and Mediation Centre (SVMAC) conducted its own poll in 2017, finding the top perceived benefits of arbitration among technology companies, among other things.

While surveys show that the market for dispute resolution in the TMT sector is expanding, there is still a notion that parties are hesitant to use it.

When it comes to the TMT industry, it appears that there is a disconnect between public perceptions of arbitration and its actual use. On the one hand, more than four-fifths of those polled by QMU believed that the use of arbitration for TMT conflicts will expand, with a “striking majority” (92 percent) agreeing that it is well suited to settling them.

In 2016, only 4.36 percent of LCIA proceedings were tied to TMT, with barely 0.4 percent involving the media and entertainment industries. Although mediation is the most popular approach for resolving disputes among organizations in the TMT industry, the poll does not specify what, if any, further methods are recommended if mediation fails.

Reluctancy In Use Of Dispute Resolution

To begin with, many TMT conflicts are largely non-contractual in nature (issues relating to IP, competition, data protection, and data security come to mind). Litigation will be the default option for resolving the disagreement if the parties do not reach an agreement. Arbitration will be uncommon in any industry if a disagreement has emerged.

A perceived shortage of TMT specialists in the sector surfaced as a further probable cause for reluctance to employ arbitration.  Some claimed that more specialized arbitrators and practitioners with TMT knowledge were needed, while others suggested that the industry simply needed to have more faith in the ability of current arbitrators. Overall, 19% of respondents believed that specialized judicial tribunals were better qualified to handle disputes in this industry in the survey conducted by QMU.

The telecoms industry’s disputes appear to be more focused on the industry’s regulatory framework. If this is the case, one reason why dispute resolution isn’t widely used could be the difficulty in acquiring the agreement required to initiate arbitration: a regulatory dispute between a private corporation and the regulator (or the state) is less likely to come from a negotiated contract. In the absence of a treaty, it may not always be possible to initiate arbitration directly against governmental institutions. By operation of law, there may also be a fixed (or favored) form of conflict resolution.

Conclusion

Consequently, arbitration is well-positioned to address many of the concerns expressed, in addition to providing the much-touted benefits of confidentiality and enforceability. However, overcoming the industry’s aversion to using it in the TMT sector is still a work in progress. Fortunately, the flexible nature of arbitration means that it can adapt to the needs of the industry and provide discrete, quick, and technology-assisted binding dispute resolution for international contractual disputes.

Shreem Thite

About the Author

Shreem Thite

4th year

B.A.LLB (Hons.)

Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, C.G.

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