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Piracy Censorship Government Media

India Threatens 3-Year Jail Sentences For Viewing Blocked Torrents (intoday.in) 96

"It is official now. The punishment for rape is actually less..." writes an anonymous Slashdot reader, who adds that "Some users think that this is all the fault of Bollywood/Hollywood movie studios. They are abusing power, court and money..." India Today reports: The Indian government, with the help of internet service providers, and presumably under directives of court, has banned thousands of websites and URLs in the last five odd years. But until now if you somehow visited these "blocked URLs" all was fine. However, now if you try to visit such URLs and view the information, you may get a three-year jail sentence as well as invite a fine...

This is just for viewing a torrent file, or downloading a file from a host that may have been banned in India, or even for viewing an image on a file host like Imagebam. You don't have to download a torrent file, and then the actual videos or other files, which might have copyright. Just accessing information under a blocked URL will land you in jail and leave your bank account poorer.

While it's not clear how this will be enforced, visiting a blocked URL in India now leads to a warning that "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 up to Rs. 3,00,000..."
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India Threatens 3-Year Jail Sentences For Viewing Blocked Torrents

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  • Technical solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Sunday August 21, 2016 @11:49AM (#52743035) Journal

    Better use emule to share, with Kad network if all emule servers are down. You don't have URLs to block there.

    I know that the issue here is the outrageous punishment of the law, but the situation here is asymmetrical in that the content creators have all the financial incentive to fight legally, and the content sharers very little of it. However, the asymmetry is reversed on the technical side, so that's where you can play your cards.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I get your point, but please don't say "content creators." Most (the majority as a whole), not all, content creators (actual artists) receive very little. It's the recording/license studios and the Evil MegaCorps that are getting all the money contributing to this insanity.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      People still use eMule?

      • People still use eMule?

        Sure. People have tried going organic, but emules are better, cheaper, faster and cleaner than regular mules.

        [ Also, the youngsters love things that have an "e" or "i" in front of the name. ]

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        The ed2k protocol had several advantages over torrents, one of the larger being that you could search the network itself for rarer files (single mp3 files or stuff like that) without having to have access to Pirate Bay etc.

        Hell, the network would even work if your ISP blocks all DNS lookups (and you don't use Google DNS, of course) to Pirate Bay.

        eDonkey and eMule may be pretty old protocols, but remember: Just because it's old doesn't mean it's bad, and just because it's new doesn't mean it's better.

  • War on Access (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Howitzer86 ( 964585 ) on Sunday August 21, 2016 @12:01PM (#52743065)

    Ludicrous. I wonder who will have the honor of being the first country to exact the death penalty for file sharing.

    Accessing files by working around the state protected gate keeper? DEATH!
    Accessing streams rather than hunting down the tape in a bargain bin somewhere because you can't get it otherwise anymore? DEATH.
    Visiting sites otherwise banned by the government because it contains information they don't want you to know or share? DEATH.
    Running a site banned by accident? Byzantine appeals process... followed by DEATH.

    Imagine the pressure. Here's your first computer kiddo. Don't press this big red button though. If you do, they'll come and murder the whole family.

  • Actual Theft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Howitzer86 ( 964585 ) on Sunday August 21, 2016 @12:08PM (#52743087)
    It's probably less risky to steal an actual DVD at this point. Hell, target the guys at the market selling the bootlegs. They won't call the cops.
    • I was gonna post a snarky reply agreeing with you. But upon researching it, they've just normalized the penalty to be the same as if you stole an actual DVD. Their penalty for theft [indianlawcases.com] is a fine and up to three years jail time. Unlike the U.S. where you have to steal a certain amount of property value before you can face jail time, India seems to have no such threshold.
      • Good for you for doing the actual research. I was wondering about it but was 1) too lazy to look it up, and 2) eager to score some easy internet points.
    • It's probably less risky to steal an actual DVD at this point. Hell, target the guys at the market selling the bootlegs. They won't call the cops.

      Probably, that way only the actual store loses, the **IAA/hollywood/whoever have already been paid so they don't give a shit.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      It's probably less risky to steal an actual DVD at this point. Hell, target the guys at the market selling the bootlegs. They won't call the cops.

      Actually they will.

      You see the guy selling bootleg DVD's is paying Officer Sandeep in order to keep doing business, if Officer Sandeep cant protect the people he collects protection money from then all off a sudden the bootleg DVD vendor stops paying.

  • If there are criminal penalties, then they must be publishing which are the prohibited URLs. Sounds like a good way to find any that you may have overlooked.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    How else am I supposed to watch my favorite Bollywood adventure? Please do the needful.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You do realize that most Indians with an internet connection are either native English speakers, or at an almost native level of English? Sure, with a heavy Indian accent, but their written English is indistinguishable from native speakers in the US or UK. In fact, that's not exactly true, as they might actually do better on average.

      • No, most or almost all are taught British English. And they end up with a upper middle class dialect.

        This is why Americans have so much trouble understanding them.

        • English is an official, relatively widely spoken language in India. The Indian dialect is separate and distinct from British English, much the same way Australian English is its own thing.

          Furthermore, almost nobody would think Indian English sounds like Upper-Middle-Class UK, and people in the UK often find Indian accents distinct from their own, and perhaps even difficult to understand.

          • True, but the conventions that Indian English follows - in terms of spellings, grammatical rules, etc ('zed' instead of 'zee') are directly derived from British English. But very different from US English. Yeah, every country speaks English differently, but it's usually obvious whether they're following anybody, and who that might be. Like Canadians trying to be more British then American so that people don't irritate them further by mistaking them for Americans.
          • I wouldn't call them "dialects". Closer to local accents. And there are 2 versions in India. One where the native speaker speaks Hindi and the other where they speak something that is closer to Sanskrit (equivalent for India as Latin to Western Europe) in Grammer and enunciation.

            And the Indian English accent is different from the versions in the UK (more formal and broken). But there are more differences in the 4-5 major accents of the US than India vs UK. Canada, South Africa, Australia, etc are different

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        You do realise that this is very much not the case?

        Yes, their vocabulary tends to be excellent but their grammar definitely follows different rules. It's particularly noticeable in written form.

  • I was told I was going to see a funny cat video, but they linked me to Talledega Nights, now I'm in prison.

  • like ellipses...
    far too...
    much.

  • So they're going to throw some underage kid in jail for 3 years? Or are they going to throw his parents in jail for 3 years, then fine them a bunch of money they likely don't have? So, in other words, the Indian government is now in the business of destroying someones' life before it even gets started, or destroying entire families, over some goddamn picture on some goddamn website they decided to block for some stupid reason? Why stop there? Why not just make the Ultimate example out of these 'criminals' a
  • How does that work? The same way as in Russia, where the providers are obligated to be a MITM (and replace a certificate if it's HTTPS)? Isn't that more of an outrage, then, than what they choose to block or what penalties they put in place?

    • I live in Russia, and there is no forced MITM with replaced certs. The official replaced certs that I have read about were: 1) in Kazakhstan, 2) In Australia where they were limited to some school system (which is understandable due to minors protection laws). The SORM (Read: PRISM) is totally passive and is prevented by law from any modification of traffic. The laws that punish the circumvention of filters are in project only.

  • Alarmism (Score:5, Informative)

    by jma05 ( 897351 ) on Sunday August 21, 2016 @06:30PM (#52744541)

    All this is pointless hyperventilating by people who understand little about India.
    India is one the LEAST punitive countries in the world. It does not believe that putting people in the prison is a solution for anything – even for things most of us would agree that people should be put into prison for.
    India’s incarceration rate is 33 (one of the lowest in the world) per 100,000
    US incarceration rate is 698 (highest incarceration rate in the world, if you ignore Seychelles) per 100,000
    Have you ever heard of anyone put in prison in India for downloading a file? The law has been around since 1957. I am not even sure if for-profit bootleggers who sell media in India have been in prison for more than a few weeks. This is just some tech-ignorant government bureaucrat getting carried away. If a 0.01% of Indians tweet about it, the warning will be edited to something realistic. This has been the pattern about most India alarmist articles on Slashdot.

    • I have read some years ago in jpost . com about Israeli woman that was in Indian prison. It looks that Indians specially make their prisons terrible. It both saves money and make the prison terms more terrible so they may be proportionally shorter.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      All this is pointless hyperventilating by people who understand little about India.
      India is one the LEAST punitive countries in the world. It does not believe that putting people in the prison is a solution for anything – even for things most of us would agree that people should be put into prison for.
      India’s incarceration rate is 33 (one of the lowest in the world) per 100,000

      Selectively applied laws with ridiculous penalties are a tool for corruption and extortion. You can see this in the U.S. where many defendants, particularly poor ones, get their verdict dictated by the prosecutor rather than the judge with a "plea deal" (you just take what I am handing you independently of what you may or may not have done, or I'll throw so much at you that, baseless or not, more will get to stick than if you just bend over right away), making a mockery of due process.

      • by jma05 ( 897351 )

        You are entirely looking at India with US legal system lenses. In India, the political system is not dominated by lawyers i.e. the politicians don't have a legal background as much as they do in US. Public prosecutors don't routinely run for elections and hence have an interest in promoting themselves as "tough on crime". AFAIK, terrifying the defendant with disproportionate punitive threats and forcing him/her into a plea deal is not an issue in India. There, the problems are more around the legal process

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      The US incarceration rate appears to be a feature rather than a bug.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      All this is pointless hyperventilating by people who understand little about India.

      This. People who have never travelled don't understand how these things work in places like India. Everything is corrupt. Everyone takes and makes payouts. No-one rocks the boat.

      What has happened is that the movie moguls paid the politicians to make these laws. The politicians took the money and made the law. The law will never be enforced because it relies on the police.

      The police also take bribes. So do the judges. Most crimes can be gotten out of with a nominal sum of money. This is why the charges

  • These fines should off course be paid in zero rupee notes [wikipedia.org].
  • We need Mr.Robot

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