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You Won't Be Punished For Watching Pirated Content Online: Bombay HC

No, you won't be jailed for visiting a torrent website.

05/09/2016 1:07 PM IST | Updated 05/09/2016 1:52 PM IST
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A few weeks ago a message displayed on the torrent websites sent shivers down the Indian internet users' spines. The ambiguous message meant that anyone could be punished just for visiting and viewing a blocked website.

Now the Bombay High court has said that no one would be penalized for watching pirated content online.

According to a report in Times Of India, The high court also ordered the ISPs to drop the line "'viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating' a particular film is a penal offense" from the message which is displayed on the websites which are blocked by the ISPs by the court order.

The high court also directed the ISP to put a more generic message on the website with the details of the grievance officer.

"The offense is not in viewing, but in making a prejudicial distribution, a public exhibition or letting for sale or hire without appropriate permission copyright-protected material," Justice Gautam Patel said.

He also directed the ISP to have a nodal officer who would respond to the complaints in two working days. The contact information of whom should be displayed with the error message.

He said the message should also say "Infringing or abetting infringement of copyright-protected content including under this URL is an offense in law. Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957, read with Section 51, prescribe penalties of a prison term of up to 3 years and a fine of up to Rs 3 lakh."

The Indian authorities have started a crackdown on the websites which hosts the pirated content after several recent incidents of movies leaking out before the actual release in the theaters.

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