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RCom shuts access to file-sharing sites

Shubhashish & Katya B Naidu  |  Mumbai 

In an attempt to reduce movie piracy, (RCom) shuts file-sharing sites when flicks produced by its sister company are released. Currently, a number of such sites are not accessible on RCom’s internet, as Reliance Entertainment’s Don 2 is running in theatres.

A user who has RCom internet service at his home said, “I’m unable to access file-sharing websites like Rapidshare and Mediafire, as Reliance has shut access to these since the day Don 2 hit the screens.” He complained this was not the first time RCom had done this.

The phenomenon repeats every time movies are released. “Earlier, during the release of Singham and Bodyguard, releases, access to file-sharing sites was shut down. During the release of Singham, I thought this was a technical error and was resolved in a few days. However, the company has done it again, with the release of Bodyguard and now, Don 2. Hence, it’s clear RCom is trying to stop piracy of its films,” said another user.

In an emailed reply, Sanjay Tandon, vice-president, music and anti-piracy, Reliance Entertainment, said, “Yes. This is not the first time Reliance Entertainment has asked internet service providers (ISPs) and other content distributors like cable networks and direct-to-home operators, to block file-sharing sites to protect its intellectual property. A similar ‘John Doe’ order for IP protection was earlier obtained for Singham and Bodyguard also. Most ISPs and content re-distributors, including RCom, have complied with the court order.”

However, the trend has been observed only with RCom. These file-sharing sites are accessible from other ISPs, which means only RCom is blocking these sites on the behest of Reliance Entertainment. The company said the court order had been sent to all ISPs and content re-distributors, and not just RCom. “If anyone doesn’t uphold or comply with the high court order, it will amount not only to infringement of the Copyright Act, but also contempt of court,” Tandon said.

Reliance Entertainment has taken an order from the Delhi high court to block sites, citing piracy of its latest releases. Tandon said, “This specific IP protection order is called ‘John Doe’ order and is given by the court against unknown offenders to stop illegal exploitation of films. This order covers curbing piracy of films on all mediums, be it physical, cable or online.”

Dominic K, a cyber security expert, said, “A John Doe order is a type of injunction granted by courts in cases where an anonymous person maybe committing a breach of the rights of the plaintiff and cannot be identified by the plaintiff at the time of filing of suit.”

File-sharing sites help internet user to transfer large files, including movies and music, over the internet. These websites are used by people to distribute movies immediately to others on the internet. This results in mass scale downloads and piracy.

The move, however legit to stop movie piracy, still treads the thin line of ethics of business.

These file-sharing websites are not only used for uploading and transferring movies and music but also large-sized documents, pictures and files.

First Published: Tue, December 27 2011. 00:15 IST