Amitha HB

A 17-year-old in Kerala was arrested by the police for pirating a Malayalam movie and uploading it on Facebook from multiple accounts, reports The Times of India.

Police arrested the teenager earlier this month for uploading a copy of the Mohanlal-starrer Drishyam on Facebook, which was in turn shared by nearly 10,000 people. The case was reportedly filed against the youngster, who hails from Kottarakkara, under the Copyright Act of 1957. He was let off on bail, taking into account his age after he pleaded guilty and according to UKmalayalee he “had not realised the gravity of the matter and acted on his own without any intervention”.

Anti-piracy cell decided to act against him, after the movie’s producer filed a complaint. The police also confiscated his hard disk and pen drives while arresting him.

drishyam_mohanlal_movie

While Kerala police can be credited for making efforts to curb the increasing number of people resorting to online piracy, the measure is drastic. It needs to be noted that this is not the first time Kerala police has taken action against people who posted pirated copies of movies online. In 2012, it filed cases against 1,010 individuals/websites for illegally uploading or downloading Malayalam film Bachelor Party.

Drastic measure?

There have been debates on why the state police would take such a drastic measure without any prior warnings. Getting to the root of the issue, it can be noted that there is no evidence suggesting that this was a criminal intent. Conversely, with India becoming tech-savvy, it can be viewed as an attempt by the teenager to post something interesting, without realizing that this is piracy.

Why not use DMCA?

The producers could possibly demand a DMCA system to take down offending material from social sites, similar to what YouTube does, instead of arresting individuals who post pirated content on social networks. It is also important for India to take note of the issue and come up with a law that social networks need to follow as far as copyright material is concerned.

A DMCA system is more elegant that the John Doe orders that Indian courts issue to prevent piracy or such arrests. In this particular case, the producers could have used Facebook’s DMCA system for reporting pirated content and taking them down. It’s not clear if the producers used this method or not, before filing a complaint with the police.