[Updated] Over 219 Popular Torrent And File Hosting Websites Blocked In India
[Updated] It is just not the
10 sites that we have mentioned, but over 219 sites have been ordered by Delhi High Court to be blocked. Please see the update at the end of the post for more details.
It seems that many popular free file hosting and torrent websites are currently unavailable and inaccessible in India. We tested out a few, but none of the following sites loaded on our ISP network (on our local cable internet provider). Here are the list of the sites that are unavailable currently.
- thpiratebay.se (torrent site)
- torlock.com (torrent VPN site)
- uploadrocket.net (file hosting site)
- 1337x.org (torrent site)
- 1337x.to (torrent site)
- torrentfunk.com (torrent site)
- limetorrents.com (torrent site)
- tusfiles.net (file hosting site)
- unlimitedzone.com (file hosting site)
- torrenthound.com (torrent site)
Our local ISP (ICC cable network), who have BSNL as their internet gateway, gave us a blank page on all the sites without any message on all the above sites. However, it seems that different ISPs have taken a different approach. We tested the same sites using Reliance USB dongle, and the message was different. It did not load the sites at all, and gave us following message.
We tried checking out the websites on our Idea Cellular 3G network, and surprisingly all these sites were loading properly for us without a hitch.
What this means is, some ISP’s (Definitely BSNL and Reliance) have blocked these sites. On the other hand on Idea Cellular 3G network, the sites are working fine.
Generally, when DoT blocks any such sites, they cannot do it arbitrarily. They need a court order, and once they have got it, they block the websites with a message like “This website/URL has been blocked until further notice either pursuant to Court orders or on the Directions issued by the Department of Telecommunications”. While we did not see any such message, TelecomTalk reported that they saw these messages on BSNL network.
Also, it is interesting to note that it is not a blanket ban on file hosting and torrent sites. Few other torrent sites like KickAss Torrents, torrentz.eu and number of others were still accessible.
How Did This Block Come Into Effect?
Right now it is unclear as to who has asked for these sites to be blocked, but from what we can say, it must be a film or music production house that must have got a court order to block these specific sites. The sites that have been blocked are more popular with Indians for hosting Bollywood and South Indian movie torrents.
This is not the first time such blocks have come into effect. Many video streaming and torrent sites have been blocked earlier including vimeo and pirate bay for hosting copyrighted content. However, nearly all of them were unblocked later based on Court order, as these blocks were based on John Doe orders (orders against unnamed entities).
Can the whole Websites be blocked?
No, entire websites cannot be blocked.
A court can only give orders in regards to specific infringing urls and cannot order whole sites to be blocked. In a Madras High Court order date April 25th, 2012, they have specifically mentioned the following
“The interim injunction is granted only in respect of a particular URL where the infringing movie is kept and not in respect of the entire website. Further, the applicant is directed to inform about the particulars of URL where the interim movie is kept within 48 hours.“
Keeping this in mind, it is interesting to note that entire sites have been blocked.
We will keep you posted on further developments on this matter…
Update 1 :
Delhi High Court has given a order for blocking of over 450 sites based on the case filed by Multi Screen Media (Sony TV) in regards to illegal file hosting of videos and clips related to World Cup Football matches for which MSM have sole rights. Check out the actual court order here. [tip: Abhishek Bhatnagar]
It is interesting to note that court order contains instructions to ISP for blocking sites like Docs.google.com, Google url shortner and 472 such sites. We checked quite a few sites that have been listed and while some are still accessible, some of them have already been blocked.
In our view this is absolutely ridiculous that Court can give such blanket instructions to block these sites. We fail to understand that how can anyone give order to block sites like Google Docs, which is legitimately used by millions for their daily work. While Google docs is still accessible, there are so many legitimate sites that are getting blocked due to this reason.
In all probability, we hope that unblock orders should come soon enough…
According to Medianama, who have got updated court order, the list has been culled from initial 472 sites to 219. The Google websites have been removed from the list but still there are number of torrent and file hosting sites still in the list.