12:34 GMT +319 August 2019
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    Indian youth use the internet at a cyber cafe in Allahabad, India (File)

    Torrent Take-Down: India Threatens Would-Be Pirates With Three Years in Jail

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    India's Department of Telecommunications has upped the ante in its attempt to thwart media piracy and pornography, replacing warnings which appear to users attempting to view illicit torrent and porn-related pages reading 'accessing this site is illegal' with outright threats of arrest and prosecution.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) In a massive crackdown on piracy and porn, the Indian government, in collaboration with the country's leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs), has made it almost impossible to access blocked torrent sites in the country. Internet users have said that when they tried accessing major torrenting websites, they encountered a flash message with a warning that they could be sentenced to three years in prison or a 4,500 USD fine for ‘viewing’, ‘downloading’, ‘exhibiting’ or ‘duplicating’ "an illicit copy of content under the URL" and that doing so is a punishable offence according to Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act of 1957. This has prompted angry responses from internet users.

    Earlier, only the uploaders of pirated content to websites or torrent sites were thought to be in danger of any legal prosecution. However, the latest warning applies to every Internet user who dares to even open such sites and view torrent files.

    While most illegal websites in India were earlier blocked using Domain Name System (DNS) filtering, it was rather easy to bypass state firewalls and access the actual website using third-party DNS services. The latest warnings suggest that the government has now roped in big Internet Service Providers such as Tata Communications and Airtel to help them attain fool-proof blocking.

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