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A serious and imminent threat to the open Internet in India

14 years is a very long time in Internet history. On December 14th, 2004, Avnish Bajaj, now a co-founder at VC firm Matrix Partners, was arrested, and sent into judicial custody without bail until December 24 that year. Bajaj had gone to Delhi to meet the police, and help with an investigation related to the attempt at selling a copy of the infamous DPS MMS clip via Baazee.com. Baazee.com, which Bajaj had founded, and sold to eBay, was the precursor to eBay.in, and allowed users to buy and sell physical and digital products. The seller had put up a listing on Baazee, for the MMS clip, and offered to email users the clip, once the payment was done. Upon being informed about the clip, Baazee had removed it, and was assisting the police with the investigation. Bajaj's arrest was a significant event in Internet policy in India. The importance of Safe Harbor for Internet businesses and users When the IT Act was passed in 2008, despite its flaws, it brought in "safe harbor" for "intermediaries". Intermediaries - which include social networks, messaging platforms, e-commerce marketplaces, video sharing sites, blogs (when it comes to comments that you leave on them), payment companies who enable transactions, domain registrars - are merely seen as entities that allow sharing of information, and not as "publishers" in the traditional sense of the word. Just as you shouldn't be held liable for my comments, my video, platforms are protected from liability of how users use them.…

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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

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

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