Recently, a news about blocked URLs is making many youngsters anxious.
The reports suggest that just visiting a blocked website could result in a jail term and a fine of INR 300,000.
But the order is different from what it is being portrayed by many newscasters.
The previous message, ‘Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India. Please contact administrator for more information’ has been updated.
The New Order on Blocked URLs:
The new order is more detailed and states the law provisions under which a person can be prosecuted.
“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 up to Rs. 3,00,000/-.”
But, if we read the order carefully one can understand that just viewing a URL can’t be a reason for prosecution.
It is like a person can’t be penalized just for visiting a place which sells stolen items. But if that person purchases the stolen items then he is liable for prosecution.
Furthermore, the order also doesn’t specify the agency or authority which will monitor the activities and initiate action against the offenders.
Many websites have been blocked under John Doe orders that are aimed at preventing copyright infringement.
These orders are what Bollywood banks on to try and stop movies from being pirated online.