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News & Analysis

No One is Going Jail for Just Visiting Blocked Torrent Site

All over the facebook, twitter and other social media site, people are sharing different article and post about Torrent that you will go jail and pay fine of  3 lakh if you visit any Blocked torrent website. Before you start worrying  about this read below:

In a statement, Prasanth Sugathan, Counsel at the Software Freedom Law Centre India said that “Visiting any website, even if it is a blocked site is not illegal either under the provisions of the Copyright Act,1957 or the Information Technology Act, 2000,”. Software Freedom Law Centre India is a registered society that works on the intersections of law and technology. “The only exception could be if a person views child pornography.”, he added.

So what are all that news or post that are circulating all over the internet? Earlier, many torrent websites are blocked under the John Doe orders from court to prevent copyright infringement.

Now, the court said that instead of showing a simple message that says the website is being blocked by Telecom Department, Internet Service Providers should deliver a special message with information about the provisions of the copyright act and the order in question, with the suit number.

But to this, Tata responded to the court that this individual messaging would not be technologically possible. The court notes that it did not see why the order was technologically not possible and that Tata was the only ISP to say so. As a result of this pushback, in point 4 of the order, the court agreed to a compromise with Tata, with the message that was seen and led to the media reports. Point 5 of the order gives us the text of the warning Tata is displaying which the court ordered only for Tata. This also explains why none of the other ISPs are displaying this 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 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 [email protected] 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.

So, the above is that special message displaying when you visit blocked torrent website. If you read the message carefully, you can see that the warning is about illegal viewing of the copyrighted materials – simply viewing the URL of a particular torrent website will not send you to jail. With that said, could you go to jail for downloading movies, songs, etc.? Yes, possibly. It’s worth noting that there’s no new law or ruling that’s at play here – it’s a standard warning about piracy, under rules that have been around for a long time now.

So, you can still access to torrent sites but don’t download movies or any other copyright material, you can use torrent sites share free softwares, open source software, literary work and artistic work licensed under Creative Commons licenses.

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Shubham Mishra

Founder and Chief Editor at PaidFreeDroid. Shubham likes to keep on top of the tech world and loves to help people around him who face day to day trouble with technology.

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