Court Blocks 13,445 ‘Pirate’ Sites Proactively To Protect One Movie – Slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: A court in India has granted what appears to be the most aggressive site-blocking injunction in the history of copyright law. In advance of the movie ‘Vikram Vedha’ premiering in cinemas last Friday, a judge handed down an injunction that ordered 40 internet service providers to proactively and immediately block an unprecedented 13,445 sites. […] India began blocking pirate sites in 2011 but the public had no idea it was coming. In an early case, movie company Reliance Entertainment went to court to protect the movie ‘Singham’ and came away with an order that compelled ISPs to temporarily block sites including Megaupload, Megavideo, Rapidshare, Putlocker, Hotfile and Fileserve. Having obtained one injunction, to the surprise of no one Reliance Entertainment immediately sought and obtained another. From there, the site-blocking train gathered steam and hasn’t looked back. […]

After obtaining certification for its new movie ‘Vikram Vedha’ last Monday, Reliance Entertainment filed an injunction application the next day. The goal was to protect the movie from online piracy following its premiere last Friday. Given that courts in other countries can take months over a decision, the Madras High Court needed to act quickly. On September 30, the day of the movie’s release, the Court published its orders, noting that substantial sums had been invested in ‘Vikram Vedha’ and the movie was expected to screen in 3,000 cinemas worldwide. With words such as “imminent” and “threat” featured early on, it was already clear which way the judge was leaning. How far he was prepared to go still came as a surprise. After reading through the Reliance application, the judge declared that Reliance had made its case and that an injunction was appropriate. The judge said that if an interim injunction wasn’t immediately granted, it would “result in alleged piracy being completed in all and every aspect of the matter.” That would in turn lead to an “irreversible situation” and “irreparable legal injury incapable of compensation.”

Due to the urgency, the respondents in the case – including 40 internet service providers — weren’t notified of the legal action. Nevertheless, the injunction was handed down via two separate orders, which together prohibit anyone from copying, recording, camcording, making available, uploading, downloading, exhibiting or playing the movie without a license. After specifically prohibiting copying to CD, DVD, pen drives, hard drives or tapes, the orders move on to the issue of ISP blocking. It appears that Reliance asked for a lot and the judge gave them everything. According to one of the orders, the websites put forward for blocking are all “non-compliant” operations, in that they have no reporting and take down mechanisms in place, at least according to Reliance. Interestingly, Reliance also informed the court that all of the websites were infringing its copyrights in respect of the movie ‘Vikram Vedha’, even though it was yet to be released and when the application was filed, no copies were available online. This means that Reliance couldn’t have provided any infringing URLs even if it wanted to. Nevertheless, the judge did consider more limited blocking.

Ultimately, the judge granted an interim injunction and ordered all of the ISPs (list below) to immediately and proactively block a grand total of 13,445 websites. While the names of the websites were made available to the court, the court did not make the schedule available on the docket. As a result we have no way of confirming which domains are on the list. The ISPs weren’t informed about the injunction application either, so presumably they’re also in the dark. The idea that the judge tested all 13,445 domains seems wishful thinking at best. That leaves Reliance Entertainment as the sole entity with any knowledge of the submitted domains, all of which have been labeled in court as infringing the movie’s copyright, even though no copy was available when the application was made.

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