Telangana IT Minister Orders ISPs To Block 1000 Websites To Curb Movie Piracy
Telugu movie industry has found a new savior in the form of K.T Rama Rao, who is the Cabinet Minister for Panchayat Raj & IT for Telangana State. In one of the major crackdowns on stopping the spread of pirated movies, he has asked Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block around 1000 websites which allow sharing of pirated movies, especially Telugu flicks.
Led by producer & distributor Daggubati Suresh Babu, several filmmakers met K.T Rama Rao where representatives of different ISPs were also present. This meeting happened in Hyderabad this Wednesday (October 28, 2015). The minister was made aware that Telugu film industry lost around Rs 350 crore in the last 9 months, solely due to the spread of pirated movies.
Suresh Babu informed the Minister that London City had earlier cracked down on pirated movies, and have initiated several actions to stop pirated content from spreading.
Such was the effect of this meeting, that K.T Rama Rao immediately asked all the ISPs to block 1000 such websites, and assured the delegate of filmmakers that he will seek Center’s assistance in stopping the menace of pirated content. Infact, the Ministry will use the IT Act and make sure that strict action would be taken against such websites.
Government’s Earlier Actions Regarding Internet Ban
This is not the first time that Government has taken such knee-jerk actions to stop the spread of content; sometimes its porn, and sometimes, its pirated content. But unfortunately, such ‘instant remedies’ seldom works.
In 2013, Government of India imposed a blanket ban on several websites and forums, citing spread of porn.
With respect to pirated content, Government had blocked around 219 popular torrent & file sharing websites in July, 2014. At that time as well, movie makers and production houses had complained to the Govt. and ensured that the torrent websites are blocked.
In April, we reported that Govt. of India blocked 2341 URLs in 2014, which is 73% more compared to blocked URLs in 2013! At the same time, 32 URLs were also unblocked.
Last year in the month of November, Government reinitiated their pledge of banning all sorts of porn content and directed ISPs to block access of porn content. But in the chaos, ISPs also blocked several websites and forums, which also shared non-porn videos and content. Netizens revolted against such knee-jerk reaction, and finally in January, 2015, Govt. unblocked 4 out of 32 blocked websites.
In August this year, Govt. ordered ISPs to block 857 porn websites, which we had termed as ‘Talibanization of Internet’. Later, Govt. asked the ISPs to block only those websites, which shared child porn, and asked them to unblock other ‘normal’ porn websites.
As we had shared via our Open Letter to the Government, banning is NOT the solution to fight the problem of pirated content or stopping access of porn. Internet’s basic fundamentals lie in being free and independent, and no matter how strong the ban is, people will find a way out.
Blocking of 1000 torrent websites will give instant rise to 10,000 torrent websites, and the cycle will keep on repeating.
An alternate, feasible solution needs to be discovered, which is takes into account the democratic and free nature of Internet. Child porn, terrorism activities and stealing of information should always be stopped and checked.
But, maybe the movie industry needs a new business model to survive; maybe the Govt. needs to reconsider their decision on acceptance of professional porn in our society.
Maybe we need more debate on this issue.
Do share your views on this recent decision of Telangana Govt. to ban piracy supporting websites – will it solve the real problem?