wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Need Specificity In Court Orders On Online Copyright Violation In India, Transparency From ISPs

It’s worrying how court orders to prevent copyright violation are being issued and executed in India: Mint reports that Reliance Entertainment has now got a John Doe order from the Delhi High Court directing all Internet Service Providers to block video-sharing websites, not just for one film this time, but most big budget films. This explains why many of our readers have reported that they can’t access torrenting site The Pirate Bay, but more worryingly, sites like Vimeo and PasteBin.

Given that this is a John Doe order, and is for multiple films, it means that Reliance Entertainment now can wield it to repeatedly block access to websites it deems might infringe their copyright. Keep in mind that Pastebin is an anonymous information and code sharing platform and cannot be used for hosting videos, while Vimeo is also used for personal videos – for example, @gkjohn’s wedding video.

Given that this John Doe order is going to be applicable for multiple films, there are a few points I’d like to highlight:

1. ISPs overcompensate: This is an issue that we feel also applies to IT Rules, which should be recalled or modified (sign this petition). ISPs over-react and overcompensate, and in order to ensure that they don’t violate either DoT orders or Court Orders, they end up infringing upon consumer rights by blocking access en masse. We cannot expect ISPs to protect user rights to access the web, neither can they be dependent on for protection of freedom of speech. Someone identify for me an Indian ISP in India that isn’t spineless in this regard.

2. Types of Notices & Misrepresentation by ISPs: ISPs have often put up notices that the sites are blocked on order from India’s Department of Telecom (DoT). In the past, when we have filed RTIs, these sites have not been in the list. Even now, even though the blocks are on the basis of a court order, ISPs have put up notices that the site has been blocked on order from DoT, thus representing the status to their customers. We need detailed clarifications to consumers from ISPs as to what content is being blocked, who has issued the order, and information on how to get the blocks removed. That is only fair.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

3. Impacts freedom of expression: Certain groups use PasteBin to express their points of view anonymously, and this is a dangerous precedent to set because it impacts freedom of express. The same is applicable to videos on Vimeo. This is, like in case of SOPA and PIPA, an instance of freedom of expression coming under threat by companies lobbying for protection of copyright.

4. No John Doe orders: I think we need to be careful about the nature of orders that are issued – they cannot be generic John Doe orders, with content being blocked enmasse, because then the rights of users to access and share legitimate content gets impinged upon. At the same time, I do understand the need of content owners to protect their copyright. We need specificity in the rulings from courts, and not John Doe orders. The orders which the Indian Music Industry got for blocking 104 alleged music piracy sites is perhaps a better example, although a perpetual ban is perhaps not justifiable.

John Doe orders on File sharing websites
– 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
– Producers Of Tamil Film ’3′ Get Court Order Making ISPs Responsible For Checking Piracy

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



The Delhi High Court should quash the government's order to block Tanul Thakur's website in light of the Shreya Singhal verdict by the Supreme...


Releasing the policy is akin to putting the proverbial 'cart before the horse'.


The industry's growth is being weighed down by taxation and legal uncertainty.


Due to the scale of regulatory and technical challenges, transparency reporting under the IT Rules has gotten off to a rocky start.


Here are possible reasons why Indians are not generating significant IAP revenues despite our download share crossing 30%.

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ