India: Entertainment Industry Seeks Court Ban on Torrents and Vimeo

Since the beginning of May 2012, some ISPs across parts of India had been quietly blocking access to the popular video sharing site Vimeo as well as various torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrents, BitSnoop etc.

According to media reports, this is because a film production house, namely Reliance Entertainment, has (once again) obtained a preemptive ‘John Doe‘ order from the Delhi High Court, prior to the release of some of their upcoming big budget films. The Company insists that this has been done in order to ‘prevent film piracy’.

Vimeo and Pirate Bay facing censorship in India. Graphic by author.

However, there was some confusion about the news because not all ISPs were seen to block access to the aforementioned sites.

On his blog dataReign, blogger Varma provided some more details:

As of now most of the Reliance Communications broadband visitors who try to access the blocked sites are redirected to a custom page saying “The site has been blocked as per instruction from DOT” message when browsing the above file sharing sites.

[…] There has been lots of Govt and private agencies looking for ways to block all illegal site access through internet. Their has been specific orders for all majors ISP’s in the country to block access of users to this website by taking appropriate steps like DNS name blocking on ISP level, IP address blocking via routers, and DPI based URL blocking.

Message that was appearing when trying to access sites like Vimeo on some ISPs

Twitter has been abuzz with reactions and vehement protests against the blocking of the file sharing sites.

@lleshShah: I can not access The emerging face of #censorship by #Govt of India…

@ajantriks: has @vimeo been blocked in #india or only i am getting crazy error message? @anjakovacs @jackerhack @zainabbawa @geohacker

@jackerhack: @ajantriks Blocked on Reliance and maybe other networks. Reliance got a court order to block piracy before a film release @vimeo @anjakovacs

 @kaustubh4evr: Vimeo Blocked in India Along with BitTorrent Sites: Censorship, at the behest of movie studios or music labels, …

 @mihirfadnavis: Terrorism? Food shortage? Power cuts? Corruption? NO SIR, Vimeo is by far the biggest threat to India!

@varunasingh: @relianceworld Whatever you are doing is pathetic and against the motives of the internet.

@_anshulk: Blocking vimeo is stupid #reliance #censorship #india

@wewakesaynoy: For those of you using Reliance internet: they have blocked TPB, Vimeo & will follow with others. Do you really want an ISP that does that?

@TheBigGeek: @vimeo blocked by #reliance and not by #Bharti and #Tata #VSNL #CRAZY how can a DOT order be only for one ISP :****

The hue and cry over the blocked sites appear to have had an impact. The sites have been unblocked on the Reliance ISP, as this Facebook message by Chai Kadai informs us:

Vimeo is back on for us. Yay! Maybe Reliance Communications got some sense into its head or people found some other ways to download the movie. Whatever the reason. For now, happy to have Vimeo. Still don't understand how they got to block it in the first place.

Some of the tweeple have seconded the information that the sites can now be accessed on the ISP concerned.

@crazyscorpio12: Finally! TPB and vimeo unblocked on reliance india. Whew!

@aditya_bhatt: TPB and Vimeo are unblocked on Reliance now.

However, this appears to be a temporary respite. Until their next big release, that is.


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