Piracy & Web Censorship

2014-05-26-internet2The Internet , A beautiful platform which brings the whole world together.In a relatively short period of time, the Internet has had an amazing impact on almost every facet of our lives. With it, we are able access to new ideas, more information, unlimited possibilities, and a whole new world of communities. It has grown and evolved to influence how we interact, how we conduct business, how we learn, and how we proceed day to day. And as much as it has changed our lives, in the process, the Internet itself has changed too.From simple message transfers to being the foundations of the E-Commerce Industry.

The Internet has brought people from all around the world together.The result , a new generation of tech savvy netizens, a fusion of cultures , fashions, technology . One can even argue true globalization has been achieved due to the Internet. Happenings in one part of the world is transmitted freely over the internet , accessible to the whole world.

In monetary terms , the Internet has shaped economies. World Trade has seen complete reliance on the Internet as an easy , convenient platform not only as an information superhighway but as the largest market (virtual) in the World. Not to mention the tremendous advantage gained by the marketing & film Industries.

One can even say Internet is the provider of Freedom , in its fundamental form.Needless to explain anything further about this amazing network which has truly influenced our generation& is influencing the next generation as we speak.We all can look back, say, 10 years from now when the Internet was still making its mark knows all over the world & today,where it has truly come of age.

Where Internet shows its bad side

As much as Internet has been a boon for mankind , it also has the potential to doom.Internet Piracy has created havoc for the Entertainment sector by losses running to billions of dollars due to varied illegal & criminal activities happening over the Internet.

The report ‘2014 International Piracy Watch List,’ by International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus highlights the high levels of piracy and the lack of legal protections for copyright in China, Russia, Switzerland and India. “India continues to present a seriously flawed environment for the promotion of copyright and Intellectual Property,” the report said.This is indeed alarming as India & China are the 2 most populous nations in the world.

Despite a large domestic creative industry in film, music, and other copyright intensive industries, India continues to lag badly in both the legal framework for protection of IP and enforcement priorities. Among the continuing issues in India are extremely high rates of camcording piracy, high levels of unlicensed software use by enterprises, and a lack of effective notice-and-takedown procedures for online piracy.

Bowing under pressure from the International community,the Indian government nearly doubled its requests to Google for removal of content in the second half of 2012 as compared to the first six months, the seventh transparency report from the Internet giant,Google,has noted.

A number of websites including torrent file aggregators, file storage sites and even Google Docs and Google’s URL shortener Goo.gl have been blocked in India, as per a new report.According to digital media focused website MediaNama, a Delhi high court order passed on 23 June 2014 instructs internet service providers (ISPs) to block as many as 472 websites. The order, sanctioned by Justice V Kameswar Rao, was passed following a complaint alleging online piracy by Sony’s Multi Screen Media, which has broadcasting rights for the Fifa World Cup.

End of Freedom ?

Although blocking of websites under the name of Anti-Piracy may seem appropriate.However , it won’t be long before governments & corporations a like , will make use of Internet censorship to their own strategic as well as economic advantages.

On March 29th, 2012 Madras High Court passed another ‘Jon Doe’ order in response to Chennai-based Copyright Labs for their two movies, Dhammu (Tamil) and 3 (Telugu). This was passed so silently that very few noticed it.

In July 2011 , Reliance Entertainment obtained a court order from the Indian High Court which restrained many Internet services providers from offering, even indirectly, a pirate copy of the movie Singham. With this court order Reliance Entertainment asked all ISP to block many file-sharing sites including Mediafire, MegaUpload and Hotfile. Mediafire and similar file hosters are not simple pirated file sharing platform rather many people shares important files via these sites.

In March 2012, Kolkata High Court ordered ISPs to block 104 music sites which offer unauthorized music content. The court even ordered to block via DNS and IP address blocking, backed up with Deep Packet Inspection.

If such trend continues unchecked, the government may as well exercise completed control over the Internet in India.

The Black Knights

As the Internet is slowly but surely being censored by Governments across the world,there is an increasing resistance by many against the censorship & blocking of video / file  sharing site.One of the largest hactivist network in the world , The Anonymous Group has vowed to protect the freedom of Internet in India.OB-UG437_icenso_G_20120822033229

After a spate of attacks on a number of Indian websites and a ground protest event on June 9, that evoked lukewarm response, hactivist group Anonymous Operation India has chosen the Right to Information Act (RTI) as the latest tool in their battle against Internet censorship.Anonymous India is urging Indian citizens to file RTI applications to seek information regarding the correspondence of public servants with Google, Facebook or other websites on content censorship. Anonymous India says they will collate the information and use it “in even more powerful ways.The phase called ‘Operation RTI Engaged’ is a part of many initiatives planned by the hacker collective in their effort to force the Government of India rethink its Internet censorship strategy.

Message to the common Netizen ?

Its important for the common  everyday Internet user to understand that even thought the Internet is a source of Freedom , this freedom cannot & should nut be used to cause harm to anyone or to conduct any illegal / criminal activities. Although Internet is now under threat of loosing its freedom , Internet loyalists & activists will not & should not allow the Internet to be completely regulated.A balance has to be struck between requirements of the Governments as well as the Right of Freedom offered by the Internet.After all , Freedom is what we live & fight for under the name of Democracy.Isn’t it?