Watching Pirated Films Is Not A Crime : Bombay HC

Internet in India
Internet in India

There have been so many discussions on pirated movies and torrents for past few months. A few days back Tata Broadband users were shocked to see the penalty of Rs. 3 Lakh and jail punishment for viewing torrents and pirated movies online. After this, it became more difficult for a person to understand what exactly a crime in viewing the content available online via torrents or other file sharing sites.

The Internet is an open space where content is available online for all users. Accessing a freely available content should not be the crime. Crime is in making that content available without proper authority to distribute it. Same has been confirmed by Bombay High court.

Now Bombay High Court has made it clear that merely viewing an illicit copy of a film is a not punishable offense under the Copyright Act. It also suggested ISP’s to drop the line “‘viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating’ for copyrighted content.

Crime is when a person is distributing or making available a content without owning the distribution copyright.

The issue heated when HD directed ISPs to block several URLs on a plea by producers of the film Dishoom against piracy. Court also directed to place an informative error message to ensure that genuine sites are not affected.

But message placed by Tata communications created confusion and started a new discussion on torrents. The Court only wanted a message to let the users know why a URL was blocked and under what Law the URL was blocked.

Source: TOI