Torrenting is one of the world’s, and the Internet’s most popular medium of sharing files. It is used by many people to download various soft-wares, videos etc. Though, it is also used for sharing movies, Television shows, games and other paid products and all of this can be done for free. This is termed as piracy.
Recently, the owner of KickAss torrents, one of the largest torrent websites on the world wide web, was arrested in Poland. This isn’t the first time torrent sites have been targeted. But to the relief of many, the Pirates are fighting back and a new enemy has emerged, a new country.
India had been a safe haven for torrent websites and users downloading torrent files, though a recent development has changed that.
Various websites around the internet host such torrents. Users can upload their files and also download files of other users for free. It has been a controversial method of file sharing and has faced a lot of criticism and suppression, the Indian government has finally banned or is planning to ban torrent websites. It is not clear whether this action has been carried out, though many websites are showing the following message
“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 offense 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.”
Yes, the war on Piracy has hit the shores of Digital India.
Personally, I tried a few websites and didn’t encounter this message, but it is possible that the ban will be imposed on these websites soon.
The interesting thing about the ban is that you are not only going to get punished for downloading files from the websites, you will also be punished for accessing these ‘BLOCKED WEBSITES.’ Okay! You are trying to curb piracy, GREAT! But what kind of a law punishes someone for witnessing a crime? If a website is banned, the user cannot download files from it in the first place! The punishment should be imposed when users attempt to download files from blocked websites by trying to bypass the block and the other technical hullabaloo.
Now the punishment itself, you can be jailed to upto 3 years and levied a fine of Rs.3,00,000/- for just viewing the sites, that too on FIRST offense. This kind of heavy penalty should be placed on violation of traffic rules so that our godforsaken roads are safer to be driven on. I applaud the government for finally taking to heavy penalty of breaking laws, but I condemn them for not doing so in the required area. All of us know that we Indians are terrible drivers and always had a problem with following rules whether it be roads or at home (Don’t take it in the wrong way, but it is true).
On the other hand, I strongly doubt that the country has enough jails to lock people up, every 2nd person whom I know uses torrents to download files. If this is implemented strictly then the Indian brigs are going to fill up, possibly half of the urban population will land up in jail. The ban needn’t be lifted, but it has to be changed, tweaked, to make sure that we don’t have more prisoners than the free population.