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ISPs block torrents via a John Doe order; lapses in order compliance

Several ISPs in India including Tata Communications, MTNL, BSNL, etc are now displaying a static legal notice on torrent sites and other file-sharing sites warning users not to even ‘view’, ‘download’, ‘exhibit’ or ‘duplicate’ content hosted on such websites. Doing so will either land users in prison for up to 3 years and fines up to Rs 3 lakh under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957. Interestingly, the notice asks users to approach Tata Communications at urlblock@tatacommunications.com for clarifications or in case they are affected by the block and further promises to address such queries within 48 hours. A copy of the notice is attached below the story. But the problem is the email address specified by the notice does not work or isn’t active. We sent a mail to the address only to receive an error. An IndiaToday report suggests that since the same notice, asking users to get back with Tata Communications is being displayed on multiple ISPs, the block could be different from DNS level or DNS filtering blockade that ISPs usually use. The report suggests that since Tata owns multiple Internet gateways in India, the block could have been placed at gateway level or network level, directly affecting most ISPs whose connections might travel through Tata’s gateways. MediaNama has written to Tata to clarify these claims, and we are yet to hear back from them. There is another catch:  the notice does not mention which court or competent Indian authority awarded the power to…

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