Article in DNA on John Doe Orders. “Why this blocking di?”

R Krishna from DNA has written a great piece on what is causing the domain blocks on Piratebay, Vimeo and Pastebin amongst other websites. The article explains the inadequacies of the law and what steps are required for the necessary course correction. I am extracting certain parts which quote me below, you can read the entire article here.

“The injunctions being granted in India are very generalised and broad. For instance, all it states is that the court is preventing defendants from transmitting copyrighted content. It doesn’t set any limitations, such as requiring the plaintiff to identify specific URLs to be blocked, instead of the whole website,” says Gupta.

However, Tandon points out, Reliance Entertainment has not been asking ISPs to block entire websites. “We are asking ISPs and websites to not allow our content to be streamed via their service. I don’t know why ISPs choose to block entire websites,” he says.

ISPs are not forthcoming in explaining why entire websites are being blocked. “Access to certain sites has been blocked by Airtel pursuant to and in compliance with court orders,” is all an Airtel spokesperson is willing to reveal.

According to Gupta, entire websites are being blocked either because copyright owners demand this, or because ISPs are trying to avoid potential liability. “The fault lies with the legislative procedure. If the ISP is afraid and blocks the entire website, it shows that our laws are not good enough to protect its interests,” says Gupta.

In either case, the present system of functioning is too ham-handed and is like using a butcher’s knife where a surgeon’s scalpel is needed. “Courts should be strict in monitoring how the plaintiff is using the John Doe order. But for things to change, we need one of those unnamed defendants to come before the court and express how the order was used against him,” adds Gupta. Will a John Doe please stand up?

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