The Indian Music Industry (IMI), an industry consortium of 142 music ompanies, has obtained orders from the Calcutta High Court directing all Internet Service Providers (387 ISPs) to block 104 music sites (listed here). Court orders were obtained on 27th of January, 6th February, and the 1st and 2nd of March 2012. ISPs have been directed by the court to block all 104 sites within 36 hours. MediaNama has a copy of the docket which IMI has prepared, with information on the court order and the websites blocked, but it essentially has the order against Songs.pk as a sample. Apurv Nagpal, CEO of Saregama, told MediaNama that the first order was against songs.pk, and subsequent court orders covered the rest of the sites. The IMI made a case against each website, he added, with proof of piracy of content from labels by each site.

Indian content businesses have increasingly been taking the legal route to combat piracy: T-Series filed lawsuits against several major companies like YouTube (which was later settled), MySpace, Yahoo and Ibibo, and even got the founders of Guruji.com arrested. Reliance BIG Pictures began getting generic “John Doe” orders trying to force filesharing sites to prevent movie uploads, and getting some of them blocked. This is by far the biggest anti-piracy initiative till date.

How They Will Block

The court has asked ISPs to block the sites using any of the three methods:

1. DNS Name blocking: which ISPs use to for looking up IP addresses corresponding to domain names. However, it is possible for filesharing sites to change their domain name: as we reported earlier, Songs.pk resurfaced as Songspk.pk.

2. IP Address blocking using routers: IP address blocking using routers. However, it is possible for sites to be hosted on alternate servers, once blocked, so this might not entirely address the issue.

3. DPI based URL blocking: “This mechanism involves configuring the ISP’s network management system to monitor traffic by means of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and reset or block a customer’s connection to specific Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) as defined in the network management system’s Access Control Lists” DPI-based URL blocking is necessary can be used to block only a portion of a website, for example, “www.example.com/home.html” only, instead of “www.example.com.”

What This Means

The information docket lists each of the 387 ISPs in India, all the 104 music sites, and certain legitimate sites in India, which provide legal options for consumers: Saregama, Nokia Music, Flipkart, Cyworld, 7digital, Gaana*, In, IndiaONE, Meridhun, MyBand, Raaga, Radio One, Saavn, Dhingana, Artist Aloud and Telugu One.

The intent is evident – at one end, IMI is using legal means to stop illegal downloads, and at the other, it is propping up legal businesses. This could act as a fillip for legal sites – perhaps users might choose to stream music over the cloud or buy it online instead of downloading for free. On the other hand, they could find alternate means, through file sharing sites and torrents. Nagpal told MediaNama that the IMI will go after filesharing sites next, so it appears that the battle against online piracy of Indian music is well and truly on now, and music labels are beginning to take online revenues a lot more seriously.

This might be a consequence of changes in mobile marketing and mobile ringbacktone subscription policies, enforced by the TRAI, which might have impacted mobile revenues.

Reading List

IMI Music Block
– 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