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Telangana Govt asks ISPs to block over 200 online pirated movie sites

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We missed this earlier.

The Telangana government has asked internet service providers (ISPs) to block at least 200 websites which showcase pirated movies online, and plans to make a policy to keep piracy at bay, reports Deccan Chronicle. According to the report, Telugu film industry representatives said that they were suffering huge financial losses, to the tune of Rs 350 crore in the last 9 months, due to online piracy.

About 1.5 weeks ago, IT Minister KT Rama Rao met with police officials, ISPs and Telugu film industry representatives and asked ISPs to block websites streaming movies. Rao said that he would also send IT officials to other states to study their anti piracy policies. However, the ISPs have sought norms and directions from the state government to block websites, citing that without norms, it will not be possible to curb piracy.

MediaNama’s take: We’ll repeat what we said before for what steps the Tamil film industry took to stop piracy- stop releasing movies in the first place: sinking your own ship. And a knee jerk reaction. Defining a transparent policy with respective stakeholders might hold more productive than banning one site after another without a clear understanding of how online piracy operates. Find the multiple issues with banning like information asymmetry and cautious government approach here.

With respect to online movie piracy, multiple John Doe orders have been filed in courts recently to curb piracy. John Doe (or Ashok Kumar) orders allow movie studios to push ISPs to indiscriminately block access to video sharing, file sharing and torrenting sites, that they believe can be used to pirate the film. Some of these include:

John Doe for Masaan: In July this year, we reported that file sharing websites are likely to be blocked, because Phantom Films had been granted a “John Doe” order by the Bombay High Court for blocking sites that may be used to pirate its movie Masaan.

John Doe for Bombay Velvet:The Delhi High court had issued a similar order in May, granting a John Doe order to Fox Star Studio and Phantom Films for the movie Bombay Velvet.

John Doe for Piku: Piku also filed a restraining order in the High Court against 13 websites, along with a blocking order against some ISPs to block sites like Vimeo, Thepiratebay, Torrentz.eu, Thiruttuvcd.biz, Merotv.net, Kickasstoreents.com and Torrentfunk.com among others.

John Doe for Gangs of Wasseypur: In June, a John Doe order was issued for Gangs of Wasseypur. We said then that courts needed to take into consideration the misuse of John Doe orders by movie studios and ISPs to block legitimate access to websites, instead of getting specific links taken down.

Note that the Telangana government previously sought to block Flipkart and other sites which sold sex toys.

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Related reads:

India blocks 32 sites including github; some blocks removed

Govt clamps down on porn sites in India; Accountability?

Indian ISPs say porn will remain blocked because of “vague and un-implementable” government order

#PornBan: “We don’t want to do moral policing” says Govt of India

Porn ban: SC Women’s lawyer association moves Apex court to block all porn sites

Supreme Court upholds Kerala ban on online lotteries

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Image Credit: Descrier

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