The anti-piracy cell of the Kerala Police has registered cases against 1,010 individuals/websites for illegally uploading or downloading Malayalam film Bachelor Party, reports The Hindu. The list also includes Tamil Rockers, a website that allows people to watch and download movies, online.
The report mentions a press note issued by the anti-piracy cell, which states that 30,000 people who’ve seen/downloaded the movie online have been identified and IP addresses of 1,010 have been traced. The cell along with a private firm are trying to identify names and addresses using IP addresses, which cover a large number of locations in and outside the country including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Lucknow, Kapurthala, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Puducherry, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Kottayam, and Palakkad, and the U.S., the U.K., the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Ireland, the Philippines, China, South Africa, Uganda, Algeria, Botswana, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan.
The action was initiated after Sajithan, owner of the firm Movie Channel, which has the DVD, mobile and internet rights of the movie registered a complaint with the anti-piracy cell against Tamil Rockers and users behind 16 IP addresses, who had allegedly uploaded he film illegally.
The report also adds that legal action against several individuals was initiated in July, laptops were seized in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, cases were registered with 100 people being arrested, earlier this year.
Right to take legal action on the basis of IP Addresses?
We’re not sure how the investigation agencies are identifying individuals through IP addresses, and raids, without violating privacy rights of individuals, or even whether IP addresses should count as evidence in these cases:
In many cases registered against downloaders/uploaders on the basis of IP addresses in the US, Judges have refused to grant favour to copyright holders and punish people on that basis alone. In one such case, New York Magistrate Judge Gary Brown had termed mass BitTorrent lawsuits involving IP addresses, a waste of judicial resources, as there could be more than one user sharing the same IP address, specifically with WiFi routers becoming increasing popular, and that an IP address doesn’t identify one user or one device.
In another case, California District Court Judge Dean Pregerson had questioned the accuracy of geo-location tools used to identify addresses from IP addresses.
Other Anti-Piracy Measures
This is not the first time that such action has been nitiated. The Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce has an Anti Video Piracy Cell, through which it claims to have assisted the police in arresting 5201 individuals till December 2010, in cases related to film piracy. The cell had claimed that its Cyber Piracy wing was tracking in real time, IP addresses of all users engaged in uploading/downloading/streaming movies belonging to various industries, and had raided 6 locations with the state CID team. It had published their names, IP addresses and locations in its newsletter. The Chamber had inked an MoU with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), in a bid to curb film piracy.
Among other anti-piracy measures by Indian entertainment industry bodies, the Indian Music Industry (IMI), an industry consortium of 142 music ompanies, had obtained orders from the Calcutta High Court directing all Internet Service Providers (387 ISPs) to block 104 music sites (listed here).
There have been several John Doe orders taken by film producers, directing ISPs to block sites that host copyrighted content illegally. This had lead to arbitrary blocks by ISPs, affecting all users.