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Update: Files Sharing Sites Blocked In India Because Reliance BIG Pictures Got A Court Order


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Update (August 1st 2011): Torrentfreak reports that Reliance Entertainment has also sent an email to Bittorrent site BitSnoop, asking it to comply with the court order (via @apar), requesting BitSnoop to also put a notice on its homepage, notifying its users to not download or upload the movie Singham. BitSnoop’s owners have said that they’re not governed by Indian law, and don’t need to adhere to the court order. A copy of the John Doe order is also available online, here (hat tip: Apar Gupta). The Singham torrent, apparently, is “doing well“.

MediaNama readers should bear in mind that sites received or accessed in a country could well be governed by its laws, because the content is consumed there. However, this situation explains why Reliance Entertainment contacted ISPs, because they control user access to web sites.

July 21st, 2011: File sharing websites have been blocked in India since yesterday on some ISPs because Reliance BIG Pictures got a “John Doe” order allowing them to service cease and desist notices on movie pirates pirating the film Singham, Mahesh Rangathantan, COO at Reliance Entertainment, told MediaNama. Singham is releasing in theatres tomorrow. What is unique about this order through, according to Big Pictures VP (Music and Anti Piracy) Sanjay Tandon, is that it also covers Internet Service Providers, and not just people selling pirated DVDs or cable operators. “A John Doe order is given against unidentified people, because the copyright owner doesn’t know who is going to infringe. We anticipate that certain entities are going to infringe, and the Delhi High Court has granted us a John Doe order,” Tandon said.

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Yesterday, Airtel Broadband users reported that several file sharing websites like MediaFire had been inaccessible,and a notice was displayed, stating that the site has been blocked on request of Department of Telecom. A traceroute search suggested that the block was instituted at Flag Telecom. Our readers also indicated that with certain other ISPs – Zylog and MTNL Triband – the file sharing sites were not accessible.

Tandon said that the order doesn’t necessitate blocking an entire website, but only that ISPs should not make the film Singham accessible: the order only pertains to the access of the film. “Our only appeal with this order is that you cannot make the film available through your network. It’s a matter for the ISPs to look into,because it becomes their liabiltiy.”

Our Take: What About The Rights Of The Customer?

So here is what appears to have happened: the court order apparently allows Reliance Big Pictures to ask ISPs to ensure that Singham isn’t pirated, and since the only the ISPs cannot ensure or monitor individual instances of piracy, they appear to have gone ahead and blocked the filesharing sites, probably deciding that it’s better to be safe than sorry, and ended up throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

This reminds me of the 2006 blogger block, wherein instead of blocking sub-domain pages, on orders of DoT, the ISPs completely blocked blogger, typepad etc.

In this case, by blocking access to these sites, the ISPs appear to have ensured blocking of legitimate file sharing as well.

What can be done about it? Frankly, I don’t know. The question that you have to ask yourself is – as a customer of an ISP, what are your rights, and is the ISP liable for preventing your access to the world wide web? The court order in this case apparently doesn’t direct ISPs to block filesharing sites in their entirety. By going beyond the apparent mandate of the court order, aren’t your rights being infringed upon? What gives an ISP the freedom to do that?

Unfortunately, unless someone takes an ISP to court, I suppose we will never know.

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  • nikhil please try to get a copy of the order. since its a john doe order, it should be made public. the delhi high court website will take sometime to upload it. 

  • Cwakeupower

    no body is interested in this stupid movie… what the hell?

  • Anonymous

    I am definitely not going to watch it now.

  • Anonymous

    Today it is file sharing. Tomorrow it might be blogs, then social networks and then the entire Internet. Welcome to China.

    • Anurag

      Welcome to Chindia

    • Anurag Sharma

      China is smarter than India….So welcome to smart india ! Lokpal bill will have to do less job in future

      • Taps

        Lokpal is supposed to look after public exchequers, and not private rights (like that of Reliance here). It has nothing to be involved in here.

        • Anurag

          Bullshit…this is all balckmoney Taps…..Lokpal will have to get involved….these people need lesson who thrive on rampant piracy 

    • We can try to boycott the movie. Someone has created this page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Does-of-IndiaLets-Boycott-Singham/255042921188392

    • Lets just not pay the bi!!

  • Abhinav Mehta

    Who is having the time to watch such stupid movie. 

    But this ‘John Doe’ sounds interesting. What about torrents…how they will block the torrents. They are P2P instead of domain based, so how they will control torrents.

    • —…—

      packet shaping. Some ISPs already do this.

  • Isn’t this a contravention of the fundamental approach our constitution takes – that no innocents should be harmed even at the risk of having let the guilty get away ? Blocking access for all – including legitimate – usage is just not in the spirit of that! I do think its more of the courts not having a keen enough understanding of tech and its applications and usage in the general case.

  • we should boycott the movie

  • Guest

    As a part of the protest I will not see the movie “Singham” though I wanted to watch this movie badly in theatre.

  • imerebus egypt

    BOYCOTT “SINGHAM” MOVIE……..

  • Mukesh Ambani

    In 2009 total movie release in India was 1288.

    If every producer get this kind of court order , we need to disconnect Internet and will watch blank monitor. 

    Indian judges are mad , they have no idea what they are doing !

  • #include

    lol i suppose they don’t know how to block a single movie instead of the entire stuff! that’s what you make us feel…  SHAME ON YOU!!

  • Helo2ashu

    If its due to Singham, then lets ask all Indians to boycott this movie. This dictatorship from Reliance and courts. Reliance must have filled the pockets of judges who ordered this…………………….

  • First Off India Have A Very Slow Internet Speed And Now They Started Blocking Free Sites? 

    This Gonna Make India 1st from The Last !

  • Deepali Hande

    I am happy this is happening now….there should be also court orders to close illegal music websites such as songs.pk, raaga.com, smashits.com, musicindiaonline.com

    • Xor

      you obviously belong to the retarded sack of ppl who just dont  understand that the true power of internet lies in its freedom.
      but you ofcourse are too full of horseshit to admit that

      • Anna Hazare

        if you google over hindi online movies you get following sites
        http://www.hindilinks4u.net/ ; http://www.hindimoviesonline.tv/ also there are torrent sites such as desitorrents.com ….everyone is aware of such sites and making use of free streaming ….these sites are getting paid from the advertising revenues …..who should claim this money ? the website owner without paying for the license ? Xor…what if you create something from 10 years of your salary income and there are people who are earning from that creation with a free ride ? 

    • Pulvarize

      Hey, Troll boy, move aside.. if that is how internet should work, then it is a logical step ahead to start banning people like you who don’t understand the internet.

  • Anonymous

    Get your damn power supply right before abusing your power on the internet, Unreliance. Reliance Energy is the company with the most unreliable power in the world.

  • Vote against this!!!

    Sign a petition here : http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/filesharingindia/

  • This is outrageous and an infringement on our basic freedoms. 

  • good. go buy cd’s and dvd’s now. enough of spending your money on shit. they (the artists) deserve to get paid for what they do.

  • yes! go buy cd’s and dvd’s now. enough of spending your money on shit. they (the artists) too deserve to get paid for their work.

  • Bjooos

    Bloody ISP bastards… The users should avoid these idiots.

  • Anonymous

    This is real crazy, by blocking 10 or 15 sites, its impossible to stop
    piracy. Mostly downloaders are techies, every one knows that how to use a
    web based proxy, if the site is blocked in current ip, people can
    access using proxies, for example http://www.hidemyass.com is such a service, This being used by so many corporate employees for accessing facebook, etc.

    Than
    doing kiddish things, reliance should think some thing technological,
    this is like a dad scolding a kid, beta dont go out, bhoot pakdega ,
    hahaha :)

    Wake up india, we are far ahead of other countries, prove some thing technical and not these small things

    Regards
    karan

  • Some comments on the post, of course all this is all little presumptive since I have
    not seen this ‘John Doe’ Order.

    1) ‘John Doe’ orders have not been used in the past as general website block orders. This seems to be a first.

    2) Also the usual ground of generality under such orders is limited to omission of the defendant’s details
    on grounds of unavailability. In respect of the particulars of the injunction they are limited to the content which is alleged to have been infringed. Now applying this rule, even though I may not be able to identify the website which is uploading Singham and I may get an order against some unidentified websites, the order is limited specifically to Singham.

    3) There seems to be a suggestion whereas the order has been passed against websites which host the infringing content (primary infringers – my take, arguable since most of the websites rely on UGC), ISP’s have also been made parties to the litigation on the allegation that they contribute to the infringement. Now this is speculative, for this to happen, the ISP’s should have been made a party to the Suit and as Pranesh pointed out yesterday specific relief must have been asked against them from the court. If this has happened, the order may be bad in law and liable for a challenge.

    4) If the ISP’s have not been made a party to the litigation then what happened yesterday was that a copy of the order was sent to the ISP’s for compliance. The ISP’s messed it up and blocked the entire domains rather than the specific page which hosts Singham. Now this should be contrary to the order.

    What can be done about this? of the top of my head.  

    1) An impleadment application can be filed on behalf of a subscriber to challenge the injunction if the ISP’s have been made a party. I don’t know how successful this would be given it will be a high resource battle.

    2) If the ISP’s have not been made a party, a suit for declaration can be filed against them. This can be on the basis of a breach in the ISP’s service contract.

    3) Approach the consumer forum against the ISP for deficiency of service. This is the easiest and in my opinion, strategically the best option. The consumer forum is an easy forum to argue and often one does not even need to engage a lawyer. Resolution is quick and it is consumer friendly. 200 customers filing consumer complaints individually can make this blind compliance seem costly.

    4) A consumer organization or a bunch of consumers can collectively file a petition with the TDSAT. This can lead to a wider ruling, but it is also a high resource battle.

    Of course all of the above are a host of legal remedies which may or may not be suitable and will require to be debated. Also as a caveat all the views above are my two cents to this debate and not legal advice.

  • Some comments on the post, of course all this is all little presumptive since I have
    not seen this ‘John Doe’ Order. 

    1) ‘John Doe’ orders have not been used in the past as general website block orders. This seems to be a first.

    2) Also the usual ground of generality under such orders is limited to omission of the defendant’s details
    on grounds of unavailability. In respect of the particulars of the injunction they are limited to the content which is alleged to have been infringed. Now applying this rule, even though I may not be able to identify the website which is uploading Singham and I may get an order against some unidentified websites, the order is limited specifically to Singham.

    3) There seems to be a suggestion whereas the order has been passed against websites which host the infringing content (primary infringers – my take, arguable since most of the websites rely on UGC), ISP’s have also been made parties to the litigation on the allegation that they contribute to the infringement. Now this is speculative, for this to happen, the ISP’s should have been made a party to the Suit and as Pranesh pointed out yesterday specific relief must have been asked against them from the court. If this has happened, the order may be bad in law and liable for a challenge. 

    4) If the ISP’s have not been made a party to the litigation then what happened yesterday was that a copy of the order was sent to the ISP’s for compliance. The ISP’s messed it up and blocked the entire domains rather than the specific page which hosts Singham. Now this should be contrary to the order.

    What can be done about this? of the top of my head.  

    1) An impleadment application can be filed on behalf of a subscriber to challenge the injunction if the ISP’s have been made a party. I don’t know how successful this would be given it will be a high resource battle. 

    2) If the ISP’s have not been made a party, a suit for declaration can be filed against them. This can be on the basis of a breach in the ISP’s service contract. 

    3) Approach the consumer forum against the ISP for deficiency of service. This is the easiest and in my opinion, strategically the best option. The consumer forum is an easy forum to argue and often one does not even need to engage a lawyer. Resolution is quick and it is consumer friendly. 200 customers filing consumer complaints individually can make this blind compliance seem costly. 

    4) A consumer organization or a bunch of consumers can collectively file a petition with the TDSAT. This can lead to a wider ruling, but it is also a high resource battle. 

    Of course all of the above are a host of legal remedies which may or may not be suitable and will require to be debated. Also as a caveat all the views above are my two cents to this debate and not legal advice.

  • Some comments on the post, of course all this is all little presumptive since I have
    not seen this ‘John Doe’ Order. 

    1) ‘John Doe’ orders have not been used in the past as general website block orders. This seems to be a first.

    2) Also the usual ground of generality under such orders is limited to omission of the defendant’s details
    on grounds of unavailability. In respect of the particulars of the injunction they are limited to the content which is alleged to have been infringed. Now applying this rule, even though I may not be able to identify the website which is uploading Singham and I may get an order against some unidentified websites, the order is limited specifically to Singham.

    3) There seems to be a suggestion whereas the order has been passed against websites which host the infringing content (primary infringers – my take, arguable since most of the websites rely on UGC), ISP’s have also been made parties to the litigation on the allegation that they contribute to the infringement. Now this is speculative, for this to happen, the ISP’s should have been made a party to the Suit and as Pranesh pointed out yesterday specific relief must have been asked against them from the court. If this has happened, the order may be bad in law and liable for a challenge. 

    4) If the ISP’s have not been made a party to the litigation then what happened yesterday was that a copy of the order was sent to the ISP’s for compliance. The ISP’s messed it up and blocked the entire domains rather than the specific page which hosts Singham. Now this should be contrary to the order.

    What can be done about this? of the top of my head.  

    1) An impleadment application can be filed on behalf of a subscriber to challenge the injunction if the ISP’s have been made a party. I don’t know how successful this would be given it will be a high resource battle. 

    2) If the ISP’s have not been made a party, a suit for declaration can be filed against them. This can be on the basis of a breach in the ISP’s service contract. 

    3) Approach the consumer forum against the ISP for deficiency of service. This is the easiest and in my opinion, strategically the best option. The consumer forum is an easy forum to argue and often one does not even need to engage a lawyer. Resolution is quick and it is consumer friendly. 200 customers filing consumer complaints individually can make this blind compliance seem costly. 

    4) A consumer organization or a bunch of consumers can collectively file a petition with the TDSAT. This can lead to a wider ruling, but it is also a high resource battle. 

    Of course all of the above are a host of legal remedies which may or may not be suitable and will require to be debated. Also as a caveat all the views above are my two cents to this debate and not legal advice.

  • vish mike

    chk out this as well….. http://hackerstreet.in/item?id=7792

  • James

    What a pathetic decision..If tomorrow, someone file a lawsuit saying, his private video with his wife has been stolen and there is a chance of someone spreading it through internet,email,mms will they ban the whole internet, mobile-phones in this country??

    It is the duty of film company to take care of their movies  not to be copied from theaters or reels, instead of that banning the medium of spreading itself,  sounds soo foolish …

  • Dheeraj11

    Dont worry lol use some proxy,vpn,or atleast torproject
    Govt has ideas to block,we techies have ideas to break the block

    have fun 

  • Mindless bureaucracy bending over backwards to accommodate a corporate!

  • Rahul Gangapurkar

    This is all when Government fails to take right actions at the right time….zopadpatti thriving on free content is growing and growing…and now it is unstoppable….Blame Government more than Reliance for this ….probably the Indian anti piracy body is also getting bribed for letting these free sites go viral ….they must be getting monthly bribe from the website owners….of movies, music whatever….BBC should be very much interested in making a documentary of this real – virtual internet world….welcome to official piracy of India …..and the used to mentality of Free-Indians 

  • Ashok KP

    I can’t believe this is happening. Are we in a democracy?? Is this the kind of freedom our country offers us? I’m losing my faith in our system day by day. Soon, India will be ruled by mindless freaks like Reliance.

    • Payal

      Do you openly support piracy ? Do you have solutions to combat ? or you only want to get free downloads ?

      • Mohit

        who told you that file sharing sites are only for piracy? this shows your little knowledge..i am having my personal documents and my own official work on file sharing sites. Now because of this ignorance caused by reliance i am loosing my private asset..! Got it little Reliance lady broker.

  • MuNNa

    fuck reliance I have already complaint them lets see

  • No next is going to be the Google Search engine……That will complete us as CHINDIA!!!…

  • WTF

    The most bullcrappiest decision that has ever been made. I pray that this outrageous decision will be lifted. 

  • ObjectiveThinker

    Where are we heading to as a country….all the comments are absolutely crazy, supporting piracy in the name of free content. All want to follow the US/west, then why not for the cause of getting legal content…learn some ethics… Look how ppl in the US supported Pandora, a legal music streaming service and saved it from getting bankrupt…All the free freaks here, can even one suggest a good idea to stop piracy rather than supporting it in the name of free content…same on you…

    • Avijit

      I was just going through the post by this gentleman ‘Objective thinker’ the only thing I feel he’s missing here is that no-one is saying Piracy is good but the only point is you cannot kill the access to the site completely and should just restrict the access to the section in question till the time that is taken care of I feel people will be by and large OK with it.

  • Instantfeed

    None of the movie pirated and brought on internet can’t replace theatrical experience
    so before banning services court must think that movies those who watch on their systems are those people who cannot afford all movies to be watched in multiplexes because they are costly hence either way reliance cannot have large sales by supporting ban on piracy and even court should think its not a crime to buy a pistol , murdering is a crime so if i watch movie on my system i ‘m buying a gun and if i distribute for only commercial purpose eg : giving multiplexes a pirated copy for less money is crime.

  • Instantfeed

    Shut up it has nothing to do with lokpal!!

  • Subvolatile

    god dam my family escaped from china to live free in india and now india is slowly becoming like china i think i will move to canada now.  limited freedom is no freedom at all.  and by the way who wants  to see that god dam movie it is a sham,

  • Ashok KP

    thank god, i think reliance themselves has lifted the block. i can access those sites now using my reliance datacard.

  • me

    john doe  it is the first order of it’s kind from now on before every reliance movies release or any other production house movies release this may happen because reliance is just the first to do it the others will do it too .That means the sites will be blocked for a longer perod of time . once again fuck reliance pictures for starting the crap . So every file sharing site will be down so that one movie cannot be put on it . These fuckers have paid some serious money to whoever blocked this.

  • Aaarav Gupta

    I yet downloaded the movie and watched it

  • Sam

    This debate has been raging the world over and trying to curb torrent sites has been a futile battle. Apple changed the game for mp3 downloads by making individual mp3’s available at 99 cents via iTunes. When consumers have decent choice at affordable prices (99 cents is affordable for US not India), many consumers don’t see an incent in going for pirated wares.

    Sam
    http://www.dealite.in – Your favorite brands at 5% of MRP

  • Again they seem to have blocked the site, blanket block!

  • Lets just not pay the bi!!