If every movie producer starts getting John Doe orders the way Reliance Entertainment is, you might as well forget about accessing any file sharing sites from India, ever: week after week, as new movies release, producers can seek “John Doe” orders forcing ISPs to block file sharing sites permanently.
Here’s what has happened: The Economic Times reports that Reliance Entertainment has got another John Doe order from the Delhi High Court, this time for the film ‘Bodyguard’, starring Salman Khan. The report suggests that the order is similar to the one issued in case of the movie Singham, wherein websites, cable operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others were prevented from pirating the movie, in advance.
What happened the last time, was that Reliance Entertainment sent a list of file sharing sites to ISPs, asking them to stop them from pirating the movie. The ISPs, unable to prevent piracy, just blocked entire file sharing websites, thus preventing legitimate usage of these sites from India.
Like I said earlier, someone should appeal against these John Doe orders, and inform the Court that the way the order is implemented on the web, legitimate usage also gets blocked.
This also highlights issues with India’s draconian IT Rules, under which anyone can file such complaints, directly with an intermediary (ISP/Website), without the need for going to court. The intermediaries/ISPs, looking to fend for themselves, will try and retain their safe harbor. Like a industry body executive said at a seminar I was a part of – the DoT has dangled a carrot of safe harbor in front of the intermediaries, and forced them to do their bidding.