The Government has banned thousands of torrent websites in India for a while now, but according to a report by India Today, you can now get three-year jail sentence as well as a fine of Rs 3 lakh for trying to visit such URLs.
This rule applies if you simply try to view a torrent file or download it from a host which is banned in the country. The report points out that you don’t have to download a torrent file, or the actual video or other files, which might have copyright. Just accessing information under a blocked URL will land you in jail along with a heavy fine of Rs 3 lakh.
According to the report, if you visit a blocked torrent site or URLs, 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 of 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 up to Rs. 3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at email@example.com 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.”
Earlier, if you would visit a banned site, the message would should that the URL has been blocked at the direction of DoT.
Blame it on John Doe
The problem, for now, doesn’t seem to that India is moving to block half of the internet through a policy the way China does. Instead, the issue is likely due to the John Doe orders that Indian courts are issuing at the regular interval at the request of content creators like Bollywood filmmakers. The lawyers of film studios often approach courts ahead of a movie’s release seeking preventive blocks on the URLs they compile in the list.