No country for torrent downloaders.
The Indian government is once again taking a strong stand against online piracy. Several internet service providers in the country are warning users about extreme repercussions for downloading copyright infringing content from objectionable websites. According to a government order displayed on some blocked websites, the repercussions include three-years of imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs. 300,000 ($4,480).
Over the weekend, several ISPs including New Delhi-based Gigatel began showing a warning to users when they visited certain torrent or other file-sharing websites. The warning stated that viewing, downloading, exhibiting, or duplicating an illicit copy of the content” on an objectionable website would subject a user to aforementioned repercussions under Sections 63, 63-A, 65, and 65-A of the .
Multiple reports in the local media incorrectly suggested that merely visiting these websites would result in the penalty. However, the order clearly states that it is only when someone watches, downloads, exhibits or duplicates the “content” that they could be liable to the fine and imprisonment. So yeah, you won’t be facing a jail term by merely visiting a torrent site. Also, it remains to be seen how the order is enforced. For the moment, the notice gives the content copyright owner an option to reach out to an ISP in case they find their content illegally hosted on these “objectionable” websites.
You won’t face a jail term for merely visiting a torrent site.
Bollywood movie producers typically seek out a ‘John Doe’ order from the court to curtail illegal distribution of their titles. The court in turn instructs the internet service providers to take required measures in preventing and taking down links of illegal copies. Recently producers of big ticket movies such as Baahubali, Kabali, and Sultan had sought courts assistance in cracking down piracy for their respective titles. Movie piracy remains a big problem in the country and continues to dent production houses.
It remains unclear at this point which websites are deemed objectionable and blocked by the Competent Government Authority, but it appears torrent websites such as Extratorrent and BigFile.to are among them. Not every internet service provider in the country has imposed the ban, but these actions have traditionally taken days to roll out. Its also unclear when this ban was imposed, but it is likely yet another case of Indian government erring to the side of caution and banning a range of websites.
This isnt the first time Indian government has taken a strict stand against piracy and objectionable activities in the country. Last year, it had banned over 800 pornographic websites that were “found to be spreading anti-social activities” in the country. After backlash from users, the government had partially lifted the ban from some of those websites less than a week later.