22/08/2016 9:05 AM IST | Updated 22/08/2016 3:57 PM IST

Visiting A Torrent Website? You Might Have To Go To Jail For 3 Years

The government of India wants to punish people who even visit a blocked URL.

Andrzej Wójcicki

The government of India has a notorious way of controlling the Internet in the country. After once banning 857 porn websites, the government of India now wants to send people to jail if they even view Torrent website or a blocked URL.

A new directive on the blocked websites says that the user will be fined up to 3,00,000 and will be imprisoned for 3 years under 1957 Copyright act. As India Today reported, this punishment is not even for downloading or distributing content which has violated the copyright.

It is for even viewing these websites where the content is hosted. So even if you are accessing any legal material through these websites, you'd be in trouble.

The message displayed on the blocked websites says,

"This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents of this URL is punishable as an offense under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of up to Rs. 3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance".

There is a complete lack of clarity under the above message. Here tata communication is handling the URL blocking for the government no matter what your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is. There has been no clarification by the authorities on how the tata communication is taking part in this or how much control they have over the procedure.

Now, the sections mentioned under the copyright act mostly talk about infringement, possession, and distribution. It is not clear that how viewing a website is illegal.

Meanwhile, the ISPs are deploying better technology to encounter the DNS tricks used by the consumer to bypass the restrictions. Yet, there are sophisticated tools openly available to jump the walled garden on the Internet.

Recently, a lot of torrent-related websites are shutting down. First, the US authorities arrested a man who is allegedly the owner of the website Kickass torrents. Later, the seized the URL and shut down the website. A few days after this incident, popular torrent search engine decided to wrap up their operations for good.