Browsing Torrent or Blocked URL May Get You 3 Years of Jail and Fine of Rs. 3 Lakh [Update]
In past few months, many torrents and file sharing websites have been blocked in the country. Few well known torrent sites have been seized and founders are in jail. The Indian government has also banned several torrent sites and other sites for illegally hosting copyright content. While we have access to VPN to browse these blocked websites, the government has played its masterstroke to stop you from browsing these blocked websites.
Update: Take a deep breath. Updated part is at the end of post with clear information on this issue.
If you usually download movies and other kinds of content from Torrent, you may get into a big trouble now. From now, if you try to access these blocked URLs, you may get the three-year jail sentence and a fine of Rs. 3 lakh.
If you visit such a URL, you will be shown the following warning.
“This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of upto Rs. 3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at firstname.lastname@example.org who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance”
This rule applies if you simply view a torrent file or download it from the host or just try to browse a blocked URL. You do not need to download the copyrighted content to fall into trouble.
The Government took this step because accessing blocked URL was easy in India. Most of the websites were blocked on DNS level and use of VPN service or proxy easily allows you to access those blocked URLs. To prevent users from using VPN or Proxy, now the government wants to create an environment of fear. Well, this is not acceptable at any cost.
Recently, many popular movies were leaked and shared via these torrent websites. So, many film studios approached law enforcement and demanded to block these links to help them. Piracy is a serious offense, but Torrent is for something else.
Torrent is not illegal and neither the file sharing websites are. These are just the way to share content with friends. If people are using cars for the illegal purpose, blocking the use of cars is not the solution. There could be a better way of handling this.
Update: Confusion has been cleared now. No, you are not going to jail anytime soon for visiting torrent. Certain websites have been blocked under the John Doe orders from a court to prevent the infringement. Reported case was on the behalf of the film Dishoom. Mumbai High Court decided that instead of the standard message that the website is being blocked, ISPs should deliver a message with information about the instead of the standard message that the website is being blocked, ISPs should deliver a special message explaining why this page was blocked and provisions of the copyright act.
Tata responded to court that individual messages is not feasible. So court agreed to a compromise with Tata with a message that you are seeing in Tata networks. This is why this kind of message is not there for other broadband networks.
So, you cannot be charged for visiting torrent sites. But you should make it clear that you can go to jail for downloading a movie in question in this particular case.
Most of the film studios take precautions in advance and get court orders before the release of a movie. So, you may be at big risk if you are trying to download a movie which is illegal by court’s order.
News Source: India Today