Indian Govt. Restricts Pirate Sites in India

Indian Govt. Restricts Pirate Sites in India

India is the 3rd Highest Consumer of Pirated Content in The World

You know India recorded 6.5 billion visits to piracy websites in 2021 – the 3rd highest in the world after U.S and Russia.

Ever wondered the reason for such a rise?

It is easy to find pirated content.

“Watch Batman 2022 on 123movies online for free”

“1movies, the best and easiest way to watch Gangubai Kathiawadi online for free. You can also watch it on Netflix, but you need to wait until it’s released

“Morbius Movie Download Free in HD Quality”

“Watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom which is released only in specific countries for free on HD Online now!”

“Watch Gehraiyaan on Amazon Prime Video. Start your 30-day free trial today and avail an annual subscription package for Rs. 1499”

Given that people receive such results on Google when they search for their favourite movies, it’s no wonder that pirated content skyrocketed in 2021. And in the case of the 5th example, people would rather prefer free-content to subscription-based OTT platforms.

Given that people receive such results on Google when they search for their favourite movies, it’s no wonder that pirated content skyrocketed in 2021. And in the case of the 5th example, people would rather prefer free-content to subscription-based OTT platforms.

How Piracy is Affecting Revenues  of OTT Platforms?

Karan Bedi, CEO of MX Player said that they suffered a loss of 15-20 million in their ad revenue as people watched MX content via illegitimate means regularly. Ashram, one of their popular shows would have gained 20% more viewership if watched legally.

Shailesh Kapoor, CEO of Ormax Media said that according to estimates 23 million people in India had watched at least one episode of Scam 1992 on SonyLIV but the platform accounted for only 2 million subscribers. So where did the remaining 21 million viewers come from? Even If they assumed that many watched with their family on the same subscription, it still doesn’t explain the remaining 16 million viewers.

How Piracy is Affecting Revenues  of OTT Platforms

India’s National E-Commerce Policies Against Piracy

The above data points and facts nudged copyright owners and policy makers to consider and introduce stringent antipiracy measures.

Before this policy came into force, several pirate sites were blocked as per court orders, but there wasn’t any formal legislation  or policy to bring down or block torrents, streaming sites, and other websites that allowed access to pirated content.

National e-commerce policies to curtail piracy are adapted from those that are already operational in other regions of the world. Let’s check out the national e-commerce policies against digital piracy in detail:

  • Internet service providers like Airtel Xstream Fiber, BSNL, Reliance JioFiber, etc., are required to introduce measures to stop the circulation of pirated content online. But these measures are yet to be detailed.
  • ‘Trusted entities’ like movie companies should be prioritized by ISPs when it comes to resolving copyright complaints. The identification of trusted entities and anti-piracy measures will happen on a voluntary basis.
  • If ISP providers are notified of infringing websites by copyright holders, they should immediately remove or disable access to the alleged content. This measure is loosely adapted from the takedown provisions of the DMCA.
  • A body of stakeholders will be created who will identify rogue websites that host pirated content and include them in the “Infringing Websites List’ upon verification, which will lead to the following:
A body of stakeholders will be created who will identify rogue websites that host pirated content and include them in the “Infringing Websites List’ upon verification, which will lead to the following
  1. ISPs will remove or disable access to the websites that belong to the IWL. In the UK, this policy requires a high court order even if the website is already present in IWL.
  2. Since rogue websites earn their revenue through online payments derived from subscription or advertisement revenue models; these will now be routed through payment gateways that do not permit to and fro payments from such websites.
  3. Search engines are required to remove websites listed in IWL from their search results. There’s no clarity on how this measure will be carried out as it may require foreign companies to comply as well.
  4. Advertisers and advertising agencies shouldn’t advertise on websites that belong to IWL.

What are your thoughts on the proposed legislation?

Are they effective enough? Do you think that foreign companies will comply with it if necessary? Let us know in the comments below.

Can WhatsApp be used to share pirated movies?

Can WhatsApp be used to share pirated movies?

Do you share pirated movies or movie clips on WhatsApp or WhatsApp groups, if yes, you should read this!

As per the orders of the Delhi High Court, WhatsApp suspended two million Indian accounts and received 345 grievance reports between May 15 and June 15. Based on a lawsuit filed by Zee, it also ordered WhatsApp to take similar action on those accounts which were used to circulate pirated copies of the film “Radhe Your Most Wanted Bhai”.

An official complaint was filed with cybercrime police by Zee and then the matter was taken to the Delhi High Court requesting an interim relief for defendants who were responsible for distributing the movie online. WhatsApp informed the court that they have policies in place for copyright infringement and they suspend or terminate user accounts as per their policy.

On May 20th, Justice Sanjeev Narula granted an ex parte injunction, i.e., asked eight alleged pirates to restrain from pirating copies of the film and ordered WhatsApp to suspend two accounts whose users were yet to be identified. It also told WhatsApp that it should suspend accounts that were allegedly used to pirate movies within 24 hours as per the instructions of Zee.

On June 1st, the personal details belonging to 8 defendants were handed over to the plaintiffs by service providers. Counsel for the remaining 4 alleged pirates said that they wish for a peaceful settlement of the matter with Zee. But there was no confirmation on the same by the media company.

While WhatsApp Suspended its Users Accounts it Objected Further Suspensions

Mukul Rohatgi confirmed that while its client – WhatsApp, suspended two accounts as per the court’s order, it had concerns regarding the suspension of future accounts simply based on Zee’s allegations. He argued that WhatsApp can only be held accountable in a situation where it knows that illegal content is being distributed and still refuses to take it down. Further, with the end-to-end encryption feature of WhatsApp accounts, it claimed that it cannot see the messages of its users. Since it cannot validate the claims; this “unfettered discretion” to remove WhatsApp accounts whenever Zee chooses to is not reasonable.

Amit Sibal – the counsel representing Zee said that, since Zee is a responsible company, it would not misuse the order and it was just and proper to suspend accounts. He said that in such cases Zee could be subjected to judicial scrutiny and he also agreed for additional safeguards if it meant that order can be in place.

Justice Narula ruled that this matter would require additional consideration. But, later upon finding merit in Mr. Rohatgi arguments, the court decided that it would be appropriate for the accounts to be suspended based on the orders of the court.

Websites with Pirated Links to Be Removed

Websites with Pirated Links to Be Removed

Does your website contain pirated links – 100s of them? If yes, then your website might be removed from the search results, FOREVER.

Many countries are adopting a rightsholder-centric approach and have resorted to blocking pirate sites, sometimes permanently. This is done to clamp down on the availability of pirated movies and TV shows in search engine results.

Piracy Will Make Movies Unviable

Misuse of copyright law is nothing new; the piracy ecosystem thrives on this. Unless, aggressive enforcement of copyright by all stakeholders including major search engines are put in place, it is near impossible for the content industry to sustain itself.

Google has Zero-Tolerance to Piracy

In the first quarter of 2021, Google in its fight against piracy has processed 5-billion takedown requests from copyright holders across the globe.

Google, the dominant search engine platform, uses a large number of tools and programs to fight online piracy. But there’s still room for more preventive measures that need to be taken.

Google’s anti-piracy principles primarily focus on creating more and better legitimate alternatives by guarding against abuse and providing transparency.

In accordance with India’s new IT Rules 2021, Google publishes a monthly transparency report mentioning details of users’ complaints and the actions taken thereafter.

These reports have one thing in common, i.e., over 90% of requests are only about infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR).

Content owners can submit copyright infringement claims via Google’s webforms. Once the search engine giant receives valid takedown requests, it goes through verification for infringements and then removal. On average, over 500 sites are delisted each week from Google’s server.

Additionally, Google has an ‘automated detection process’ in place that quickly delists content that violates its Community Guidelines and Content Policies.

The Latest Russian Memorandum has Shaken the Piracy World with its Aggressive Measures.

Russia’s rightsholder-driven Anti-Piracy Memorandum just got tougher than ever. The Memorandum 2.0 mentions a new policy that will permanently remove sites from search results containing more than 100 links to pirated films and TV series.

This change will be a huge obstacle to the whole piracy ecosystem. More and more countries will take sufficient measures to hit the pirates where it hurts the most. A laudable measure that might deliver piracy a death blow!

India’s Measures to Tackle Digital Piracy:

The Government of India (GOI) has been actively taking part in protecting content owners’ intellectual property rights.

A few Govt. measures to prevent online piracy in India over the years include the Copyright Act of 1957, Copyright (Amendment) Act (2012), National Intellectual Property Rights Policy (2016), Cell of IPR Promotion & Management, Cinematograph Amendment Bill (2019), and John Doe Order.

  • Copyright Act of 1957 gives the owners their rights on their intellectual properties – literary, artistic, musical, & dramatic work.
  • Copyright (Amendment) Act mentions the inclusion of section 65A & 65B to protect content & take punishable action against copyright violations.
  • National Intellectual Property Rights Policy educates the audience by spreading knowledge on IPR awareness, creation, commercialization, & enforcement of the rules.
  • Cell of IPR Promotion & Management ensures that the IPR related issues are being addressed as per the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy.
  • With the Cinematograph Amendment Bill in place, anyone who is found guilty is sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment & a fine of up to ₹10 lakhs.
  • John Doe Order allows rightsholders to issue notice & file a prima facie case against infringers.

While the Govt. and companies like Google are working at preventing piracy, anti-piracy firms like AiPlex have been doing an excellent job in combatting this threat and beating pirates at their own game! To know more about how to protect your content with a techno-legal approach that has stood the test of time, please drop us a line.