The Madras High Court today granted an interim injunction restraining all Internet Service Providers from illegal downloading of superstar Rajnikanth's upcoming film "Kabali".
Justice N Kirubakaran granted the interim injunction on a plea by the film's producer S Thanu to prevent illegal downloading of the movie through about 180 websites and "countless unknown sites".
Thanu had sought a direction to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to issue instructions to all service providers to block sites offering illegal downloads.
Tamil Nadu Anti-Piracy Cell had been included as a respondent to ensure compliance.
Counsel had submitted before the judge yesterday that Rs 100 crore had been spent on producing "Kabali", with about 3,500 technicians involved in the work.
He said the film was slated to hit thousands of screens worldwide on July 22 and interim injunction was a must to save the producer for a minimum of 15 days from the release date.
He also produced several DVDs of other films which were recorded and sold immediately on their release and alleged that state and central authorities were turning a blind eye to infringement of copyright. There was a need for an urgent order of injunction to check the menace, he said.
Counsel charged Telecom Regulatory Authority of India with not taking action despite having the technology to block websites functioning from foreign soil and had said the regulator should take immediate steps to block them.
He submitted that the producers had identified 225 "rogue" websites and other high courts which heard similar cases had directed that they be blocked.
Justice Kirubakaran had asked Assistant Solicitor General Su. Sreenivasan, who appeared on behalf of the Centre and TRAI, whether such illegal downloads could be stopped or not and had said he would pass an order on this.
In its interim injunction restraining all 169 ISPs, the court barred dissemination of 'Kabali' in all forms and manner.
It ordered notice to all ISPs, returnable by August 8.
The court said such illegal dissemination of the movie, slated for release on July 22, should more particularly be prohibited in the territorial jurisdiction of India.
It also restrained multi-system operators from allowing unlawful telecast of the film by cable operators.
"The petitioner is said to have suffered heavy loss due to online and video piracy of his movies 'Therri' and 'Kanidhan', and his apprehension regarding illegal downloading, streaming, etc of his upcoming movie by rogue websites is well founded."
The court also gave a piece of its mind to the film fraternity over the moral values to be cherished by it. Against the background of several crimes against women, including the murder of Chennai techie Swathi by an alleged stalker, the judge said films promoted violence and obscenity.
"Many social evils and recent crimes are, no doubt, the effect of recent films. Youths are made to believe that they can win over an urban girl by constant stalking and when they fail in their attempt, they are unable to withstand the frustration and they resort to committing crimes."
Justice Kirubakaran asked the Union of India to respond to the suggestions on social responsibility obligation of the cinema industry. He pointed out that the industry has a reciprocal obligation to society.
"Leading actors should also avoid drinking, smoking in their movies."
The judge said some cinema songs were loaded with negative messages invariably degrading and demeaning women.
"Thugs and criminal elements are eulogized as heroes.