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Indian Music Industry Files Petition Supporting IT Rules


The Indian Music Industry, a body which represents most of the music labels in India, has filed a petition in the Kerala High Court supporting India’s IT Rules, 2011, which allow content (comments, files etc) on the Internet to be taken down within 36 hours, without any notice to the content creator/uploader. This petition has been filed in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed in Kerala High Court by Shojan Jacob, which challenges the constitutionality of the IT Rules.

What The Indian Music Industry’s Petition Says

The Indian Music Industry, in its petition makes the following arguments:
- The Internet is the fastest and most wide spread medium for diffusion of sound recordings in digital form. This is done through ISPs.
- Many websites allow streaming, reproducing, adapting, distributing, communication, transmitting, disseminating or displaying and downloading songs, without taking any license from copyright owners. Owners of websites are unknown, and it’s impossible to track. However, ISPs have details of the owners of the website, and it is practically impossible for copyright owners to take action against people located outside India.
- The IT Rules allow the designated officers to block the contents of the website.

“It has become necessary for us to get ourselves impleading the write petition and therefore a formal application for impleading our self as impleading in additional respondent No. 3 which may be allowed this Hon’ble Court otherwise we will be put much irreparable loss and injury,” the petition says.

A download link for the Indian Music Industry’s petition is available here, on a blog maintained by the team which has filed the petition challenging the IT Rules.

The Indian Music Industry points towards its responsibility reduce piracy, saying that it, alongwith PPL, represents more than 55-60% of all existing (commercial) sound recordings, and PPL’s 241 music label members represent approximately 65% of the output in legitimate recordings. It cites the Calcutta High Court order under which it directed all 388 ISPs in India to block 104 websites from pirating content.

Really?

Did the Indian Music Industry need the IT Rules to get those 104 websites blocked? We think not. Can they still get content blocked without the IT Rules? Yes they can. What the IT Rules do is that allow the IMI to go into overdrive, and block access to websites through ISPs and domain registrars, without going to court. In their current form, the IT Rules assume that the complainant is always right, and put intermediaries (ISPs, websites etc) under pressure to act-or-be-taken-to-court; the IT Rules don’t offer proper recourse to someone whose content is being blocked, which is something that the reworking of the IT Rules should allow.

Note that the blog post points out that the Indian Government still hasn’t responded to the Public Interest Litigation.

The copyright protection clause in the IT Rules isn’t the problem: the issue is with other provisions related to broad terms used to define intermediaries and some of the subjective and broad provisions under which content can be taken down (grossly harmful, disparaging, impacting friendly relations between nations and suchlike), apart from the fact that the rules don’t provide for adequate transparency and recourse, which impinges on freedom of expression; the IMI just brought a copyright sword to a freedom of expression gunfight.

Reading List

IMI Music Block
Saregama CEO Apurv Nagpal: We Want Piracy Sites To Go Legit By Paying A License Fee
Indian Music Industry Gets Court Orders For Blocking 104 Music Sites
List of 104 Music Sites That The Indian Music Industry Wants Blocked
Songs.Pk Relaunched As Songspk.pk; Ad Networks?
Songs.pk Banned By Calcutta High Court: Report

Reliance Entertainment & John Doe orders
Reliance Entertainment Gets Order To Block Piracy Of “Bodyguard” On File Sharing Sites
Files Sharing Sites Blocked In India Because Reliance BIG Pictures Got A Court Order

T-Series Cases

Carrot & Stick: T-Series Gets Radiomaska.com MD Arrested; Takedown Notices To Dishant.com
Guruji Shuts Music Search
YouTube & Music Label T-Series Reach Out Of Court Settlement
Execs Of Sequoia Funded Guruji.com Arrested Over Alleged Copyright Violation In India
T-Series Argues IT Act Doesn’t Prevent Courts From Terminating Copyright Infringement

Also read
Hyderabad Police Arrests Torrent Uploaders