India institutes a draconian (and ineffective) antipiracy law

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Internet service providers in India must block a list of websites accused of involvement with piracy. Already, people are finding ways around it.

In an apparent victory for the powerful lobbying group Indian Music Industry, the Indian government has taken drastic action against citizens who would pirate music files: by requiring their Internet service providers cut them off at the source.

The court order instructs India’s 387 ISPs to block their users from accessing any of the 104 websites named by the Indian Music Industry, a powerful lobbying group that’s outspoken against Internet piracy. Apurv Nagpal, the CEO of Indian music company Saregama, told MediaNama that the IMI provided the court with proof that the sites were involved with piracy.

ISPs in the United States are planning to implement a different set of antipiracy measures in July. The website-specific ban in India is mandated by the government. In the US, ISPs are adopting voluntary measures—possibly in an effort to forestall more sweeping regulation—that involve sending notices to customers suspected of illegal downloads, and then throttling or cutting off their Internet service, instead of blocking access to specific websites.

So far, it doesn’t look like India has a very effective ban. At least one popular site that was previously blocked in February has already resurfaced—by simply changing its name from Songs.pk to SongsPK.pk. The two sites appear identical, and the latter is reportedly still accessible in India.

“While it’s a huge step forward in the legal battle [against] online piracy, it’s only just begun,” Nagpal tweeted. “Ensuring enforcement will be key & not easy.”

Photo from believekevin

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