SOPA: Has It Returned?


In what’s being called a “SOPA-style blackout,” an Indian court has demanded that the subcontinent’s internet service providers ban 104 websites said to feature “unauthorized” media — bolstering similar efforts in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Chris Dodd, chair and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, told India’s commerce leaders this week: “Content theft is a global problem and we must have a global commitment to solving it. This is an important opportunity for the Indian government to move forward with strong protections against online theft,” TorrentFreak reports.

Key about this decision: it shows the extent that governments will go to in the fight against piracy, but also demonstrates conflict between these efforts and industry reformers. In fact, some want to keep file sharing sites online.

Check it out: The Calcutta High Court recently agreed to this mandate, which affects the 387 Indian ISPs and these 104 sites, though it appears that none of the portals accused of piracy have been convicted of anything.

Note that Dodd, a leader of the anti-piracy charge in the U.S., is pretty supportive of these measures nonetheless.

And they are pretty heavy handed: “When it comes to implementing the blocks, there are no half-measures. ISPs have been ordered to implement DNS and IP address blockades and for those thinking of using a DNS outside India, Deep Packet Inspection will step in to ensure the domains remain blocked.”

Indeed, boosters of the move say that this is just the first of many anti-piracy steps.

Contrast this with Apurv Nagpal, CEO of top Indian music label Saregama.

He is one of a few industry insiders who doesn’t fully support the “nuclear option” approach to regulation.

Nagpal thinks Indian music and movie makers would benefit by befriending pirates, telling reporters: “We don’t want these sites to be shut down, we want them to pay a license fee and flourish as a business…there are legitimate businesses in operation too. The scope is there, and we want these sites to be legal.”

Nagpal’s words come shortly after filmmaker Heather Ferreira called Dodd’s MPAA a “censorship” group, saying that the cohort worked against the interests of indie directors — and that Torrent actually helped them.

Concern that anti-piracy efforts would lead to censorship came to a crux earlier this year, when the thousands of popular websites took themselves offline to protest two legistlations, SOPA and PIPA, that threatened Internet liberty.

The demonstration put a stop to these congressional efforts, but law enforcement agencies have since increased pressure on file sharing sites and their founders.

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