John Doe orders are back, it appears: Yash Raj Films have received an order from the The Delhi High Court, according to which Internet Service Providers will have to block websites that ‘show’ the movie Dhoom 3, within 48 hours of receiving a written complaint, as well as the URL of the site from Yash Raj Films, reports PTI. What’s worth noting here is that the order will apply to all cable operators and ISPs that are not named in the petition, which indicates that this is a John Doe order, applicable against unnamed parties who the producer might hold guilty of infringement of their copyright. This is the first John Doe order we’ve heard of since November last year, when a Madras High Court judgment placed the onus of prevention of copyright infringement on ISPs. Note that the order hasn’t been uploaded on the Delhi High Court website. We’ve requested Yash Raj Films for a copy of the order, and will update if we get a copy.

Our Take

What remains to be seen here is how the ISP’s implement these John Doe orders: We haven’t seen a copy of the court order, but in the past, production houses have asked for entire websites to be blocked. ISP’s, not wishing to risk litigation, have implemented blocks en masse, instead of merely blocking the website link.

In our opinion, ISP’s are not responsible for what users access and do, and shouldn’t be held liable in court for infringement by specific websites. Unlike in case of cable operators, where the cable operators control content and its distribution, access to content online is not chosen by the ISP. They are an intermediary, and hence, shouldn’t be held liable. It is unfortunate that the court isn’t seeing ISP’s and Telecom Operators as dumb pipes, and they might be forced to take preemptive action to prevent copyright infringement, which will lead to inordinate restriction of Internet usage by citizens.

Removal of content on request of the producer is fine – it is in line with the IT Rules, but from a users-right-to-access perspective, what happens when an entire website is blocked, because of a few infringing links. Note that in many instances, the websites themselves do not upload the content: other users do. In that context, the websites are, themselves, intermediaries, and should take down content upon notification.

Additional Reading

Our Take

– Anonymous India’s Takedowns Could Be Counterproductive
– John Doe Orders: What Needs To Be Done
– Need Specificity In Court Orders On Online Copyright Violation In India, Transparency From ISPs

ISP’s vs Film Producers

Films vs ISPs In India: John Doe Orders Could Be Back; No Safe Harbor?
No More John Doe Orders? Indian ISPs Get Court Order For Specificity In URL Blocks

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

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
– DailyMotion Blocked In India On RCOM; Airtel & RCOM Block Bookmarking Site Xmarks  
– John Doe Order Issued For Gangs Of Wasseypur

–  Airtel Blocks Vimeo, DailyMotion & All Major Torrent Sites In India Following John Doe 

–  Reliance Communications Blocks The Pirate Bay & Vimeo

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
– Analysis: The Super Cassettes Vs MySpace Case

Also read

Mumbai Police Is Checking What You’re Downloading
Creative Tree Project: On Internet Piracy, ISP Liability, DRM For Movies, Books, Cricket
Why Flipkart Shut Down Flyte Music
Bollywood & Rights, Piracy Is Mostly Via Torrents – Sridhar Subramanium, Sony Music India
Breaking Bad Finale: India At #5 For Pirated Downloads
– Hyderabad Police Arrests Torrent Uploaders
– Report: India Among Top-10 Countries That Download Music Via Torrents; 8.96M Downloads In H1-2012
– The Indian Music Industry is supporting the IT Rules
– Kerala Police Registers Cases Against 1010 Users & Sites For Pirating Movie “Bachelor Party”
– Consumer Forum Penalises Airtel For Blocking Torrent Sites
– Need Specificity In Court Orders On Online Copyright Violation In India, Transparency From ISPs