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Four John Doe orders for blocking websites in the last month alone

In the last month alone, at least four "John Doe" orders have been issued by courts in India, for blocking access to any website which might be deemed to host links to pirated content. Producers of films such as Housefull 3, Waiting, Veerappan and Azhar have received orders from the Bombay High Court, which allow them to ask the ISPs to block user access to any website they believe hosts links which allow downloading of pirated content. One of the older orders also lists torrent sites, and users have been complaining of torrent sites being blocked in India. John Doe (or Ashok Kumar, in the Indian context) refers to an unidentified entity, and orders allow content owners to shut down entire websites in order to prevent them from allowing piracy, without needing to go to court, for each time. To quote: "Should the Plaintiffs find any actual instance of piracy or infringement, the Plaintiffs will be at liberty to immediately take action without having to move this Court once again. For this purpose, the Plaintiffs will be entitled to take assistance of the Police Authorities in the area(s) concerned. These authorities shall act on production of an authenticated copy of this order." A list of the last eight orders below. Some observations, based on the text of the order (and may not be applicable in each individual case): 1. Almost all these orders have an ISP (BSNL) as a defendant: Targeting ISPs is easy and effective for content owners. ISPs don't want any liability (and shouldn't have any), and given that they're…

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Written By

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

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