India's Recording Industry Wants The Power To Take Down Content Without Notification

from the क्योंकि-भाड़-& dept

India's copyright laws are a bit of a mess right now. Late last year, at the request of a movie studio, ISPs were instructed by an Indian court to block several file sharing sites. A full blockade was set up, eliminating access to complete sites, rather than specifically targeting the offending files. Six months later, the Indian government ordered another round of ISP-level blocks, this time taking out access to another set of file lockers and, for some reason, Vimeo. Then, once you thought you had India's government pinned down as an overzealous anti-piracy enforcer for the movie industry, an ISP found itself being fined by a consumer group for going too far with its blockage.

Well, it would appear the dust has settled momentarily as new legislation is discussed, and India's government is, at the moment, still an overzealous anti-piracy enforcer. This time, however, it's the music industry that's looking to have the government expand its enforcement. The Indian Music Industry has filed a petition in support of India's IT Rules. This has been filed in response to Shojan Jacob's petition challenging the constitutionality of the proposed rules.

What the music industry is interested in is the powers granted by the IT Rules, which allow content to be taken down within 36 hours, without any notice to the content creator or uploader. There's no doubt many in the content industry would like such a rule to be implemented worldwide, but considering how many bogus DMCA takedowns there are, it would definitely be a bad thing for anyone not protected by the legislation.

The Indian Music Industry cites the following in support of its wish to unilaterally zap content off the net without having to be troubled with trifling details like court orders or if the content is actually infringing. It would rather streamline the process into a shoot-first-ask-questions-never free-for-all.
- The Internet is the fastest and most widespread medium for diffusion of sound recordings in digital form. This is done through ISPs.

- Many websites allow streaming, reproducing, adapting, distributing, communication, transmitting, disseminating or displaying and downloading songs, without taking any license from copyright owners. Owners of websites are unknown, and it's impossible to track. However, ISPs have details of the owners of the website, and it is practically impossible for copyright owners to take action against people located outside India.

- The IT Rules allow the designated officers to block the contents of the website.
While a majority of what's stated is factual, it's a rather big leap to go from "the internet makes it easy to copy" to "let us decide what's infringing and simply have it removed without notifying anyone." And the pointing at ISPs as somehow being contributors to infringement is a rhetorical tactic nearly as old at the internet itself. It's based on the faulty assumption that people wouldn't purchase internet access if they couldn't help themselves to infringing content, plainly ignoring the thousands of legitimate uses ISPs facilitate every day.

But what exists already in India, as skewed as it is towards copyright holders, simply isn't good enough. IMI wants more.
Did the Indian Music Industry need the IT Rules to get those 104 websites blocked? We think not. Can they still get content blocked without the IT Rules? Yes they can. What the IT Rules do is that allow the IMI to go into overdrive, and block access to websites through ISPs and domain registrars, without going to court. In their current form, the IT Rules assume that the complainant is always right, and put intermediaries (ISPs, websites etc) under pressure to act-or-be-taken-to-court; the IT Rules don't offer proper recourse to someone whose content is being blocked, which is something that the reworking of the IT Rules should allow.
That seems to be the case the world over. The endless pressure from these industries for more expansionist policies and fewer options for recourse is now the standard operating procedure. IMI will probably find a strong ally in the Indian government if the recent past is any indication. Most governments are looking for ways to control what their citizens say and do on the internet and the IT Rules, if left unchanged, give the Indian government the perfect backdoor towards more censorship.
The copyright protection clause in the IT Rules isn't the problem: the issue is with other provisions related to broad terms used to define intermediaries and some of the subjective and broad provisions under which content can be taken down (grossly harmful, disparaging, impacting friendly relations between nations and suchlike), apart from the fact that the rules don't provide for adequate transparency and recourse, which impinges on freedom of expression...
Between the copyright industries and a seemingly natural tendency for governments to impose as much control on the "wild west" internet as possible, India's IT Rules are bad news for anyone not on the inside of these entities.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    Blargha...thieving freetard pirate apologist paywalls flargha

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    Uploaders and other copiers have NO rights in copyrights.

    There's no right for them to use "file-sharing" sites. And it's unquestionably the case that most such sites are nearly all material that isn't authorized to be there.

    Seems so simple when you remove the premise that uploaders have "rights".

    But yes, you can share your own products all you want.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:16pm

      Re: Uploaders and other copiers have NO rights in copyrights.

      I bought the CD, I own it.

      Thanks OOTB, for giving me permission to upload my CDs as much as I want.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:19pm

      Re: Uploaders and other copiers have NO rights in copyrights.

      But yes, you can share your own products all you want


      And when you do, you are just as much of an "uploader" as the pirates are.

       

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      identicon
      out_of_the_mind, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:20pm

      Re: Uploaders and other copiers have NO rights in copyrights.

      " And it's unquestionably the case that most such sites are nearly all material that isn't authorized to be there."

      Because you said so right fucktard?

      What an ass. No wonder all your comments get buried.

       

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        out_of_the_mind, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re: Uploaders and other copiers have NO rights in copyrights.

        "No wonder all your comments get buried." - See.

         

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      Ninja (profile), Nov 1st, 2012 @ 3:35am

      Re: Uploaders and other copiers have NO rights in copyrights.

      But yes, you can share your own products all you want.

      I own a few CDs. So you telling me I can copy them and share with my friends? Good cause that's what I do.

       

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    Jay (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:12pm

    Makes no sense

    Why is it that people in positions of power always think that others are entitled to just give them money instead of working for it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    Copyright and the Internet

    More evidence that copyright and the free Internet are incompatible. So long as copyright in its current form exists there will be continuous efforts by the legacy industries to control all content on the Internet. This effort is likely to gain the support of politicians because the one thing they fear above all else is the ability of their citizens to communicate and organize themselves in opposition to the existing political order.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:38pm

      Re: Copyright and the Internet

      @ #5

      couldn't agree with you more. trouble is, we have no one to blame but ourselves because we have not kicked up anywhere near enough when the entertainment industries have started one of their anti-internet campaigns or suing someone for doing what they dont like or shouted loud enough against politicians that keep backing the industries and introducing more and more laws that hurt the public. instead, they should have been forced to make the industries join the digital age, reduce prices and make content accessible, but we couldn't do that as we cant throw a few thousand dollars into their coffers!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: Copyright and the Internet

        I think part of the problem is that politicians have been so painful to deal with, and have been ignoring the electorate for so long that many people have largely given up on them. Behind this problem is a civil service that now runs whatever politicians are elected, rather than being run by the politicians.

         

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          Chosen Reject (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 1:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: Copyright and the Internet

          That's exactly why we should let this go through in the US. In fact, give them exactly what they want: the ability to take it down and not face the consequences ever. I say let them have their way, let them force content takedowns without any repercussions. At first I thought this because then we could have all of their stuff taken down, but then I remember we wouldn't have to do that. Apple could have taken down NBC/Universal and Lamar Smith's website would have been taken down as well. BREIN would be down, Universal Music and any store selling Universal Music songs (including iTunes and Amazon MP3) would be down, France would be offline, and all Stephens Media owned properties like the Las Vegas Review Journal would be gone.

          Big Media, Big Politicians and Big Anti-Piracy would kill themselves if they got what they wanted. The piratebay would open up on a new domain with another isp and be ready to go in minutes.

           

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      Shadow Dragon (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 1:47pm

      Re: Copyright and the Internet

      And we seen that last year,with Occupy Movement and Arab Spring.

       

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    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    @ "control what their citizens say and do on the internet"

    I'm certainly among the foremost to wish for free political speech (by which I mean significant, not inane), BUT your frequent and intentional commingling of "free speech" in any and all senses with "uploading someone else's work-product to make it freely available to anyone who wishes to download" is exactly the problem. Those aren't the same case: you keep weakening free speech by insisting that it's the same as infringement.

    I'll just save wear and tear on my fingers, and you fanboys can twist yourselves into pretzels -- or ad hom all you like; I don't bother to read them, and any ad hom only serves to make the site unpalatable to reasonable people, so knock yourselves out.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:35pm

      Re: @ "control what their citizens say and do on the internet"

      "you fanboys can twist yourselves into pretzels -- or ad hom all you like"

      Oh, the sweet, drunken irony!

       

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      out_of_the_mind, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:53pm

      Re: @ "control what their citizens say and do on the internet"

      "frequent and intentional commingling of "free speech" in any and all senses with "uploading someone else's work-product to make it freely available to anyone who wishes to download" is exactly the problem."

      Marked as funny.

      "I don't bother to read them" - Or the articles either. Why do you come here again? Oh thats right, to do what you accuse us of doing. Got it... right.

       

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      Divide by Zero (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:29pm

      Re: @ "control what their citizens say and do on the internet"

      "significant, not inane"

      "significant, not inane"

      Did you, of all people, actually just say that? Good lord.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    To quote out_of_the_blue:
    or ad hom all you like; I don't bother to read them


    This and not reading the articles before spouting off is exactly why you are considered a troll here. Your blinder blocked vision means you aren't participating but rather you are trolling.

    It's good to finally see the community has had enough of your troll messages and has started doing something about it. I notice your compatriot troll has pretty much quit commenting since he's buried pretty fast. He at least no longer has free reign to spew.

    Continue at your present pace and you're next. Not a bad outcome.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:27pm

      Re:

      I wouldn't say they've quit commenting - notice that while average_joe has promised to leave until next year (a promise he has, every now and then, reneged on), guess who crawled out of Oscar's trash can. They take turns.

      Still, when you have trolls like out_of_the_ass, who make it clear what their modus operandi is, it justifies the response to them - report every single post they make. Average_joe tries to claim that everyone who doesn't agree with the RIAA is trying to censor posts attempting discussion, but for a group of people represented by someone who loudly and proudly proclaims not to read anything that is posted before firing his criticisms, reporting is fair game and should be commended.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    I wonder if India realizes its hurting itself?

     

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    DannyB (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 2:40pm

    This could be a good thing

    Just imagine. India's recording industry wants a magic cut off switch, with no due process, and no recourse.

    US recording industry wants the same. Other countries' recording industries will want the same.

    Now imagine RIAA takes down all MPAA websites. MPAA takes down all RIAA and India INI websites. British BPI takes down French SNEP. Finland IFPI takes down BPI and Australia ARIA. Argentina CAPIF nukes Brazil ABPD. Belgium BEA nukes IFPI. Etc, etc.

     

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    Keii (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:00pm

    Why would people even continue to live if not to infringe upon the music industry's rights?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:55pm

    Quick, how many music artists from India can you name? There's Ravi Shankar, and...India has a recording industry?

     

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      Shadow Dragon (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:20pm

      Re:

      Don't forget the Bollywood industry,I seen one Bollywood musical on Netflix.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 9:44pm

      Re:

      Looks like you have no idea about the Indian music scene. The country produces a thousand movies a year, and each of them has at least five songs, so that's 5,000 songs a year from movies alone. This has been going on for at least 50 years, so you've got tons of songs to profit from by releasing and re-releasing in various combinations on various platforms.

      The classical music scene (Hindustani and Carnatic) is extremely robust, with dozens of new guys making their mark every year.

      Add to this an assortment of folk, religious (Hindu, Muslim and Christian devotional in various languages), fusion, rock, etc and you have a vibrant music scene.

      The funny thing is: music was, and is, mostly accessed through radio all along. The concept of buying recorded music was always restricted to a minority (still a lot, since you know there are more than a BILLION people). All musicians make money through selling scarcities (I know Masnick invented this term, but this is essentially what Indian musicians have always done and still do, especially in the digital era).

      Classical musicians make a living through concerts and some generate additional revenue by teaching music (at music academies). The Indian diaspora is now the single biggest patron of these guys, who are in great demand and get paid good money world over.

      I could go on, but basically it's only a few recording companies that are affected, since recorded music (cassettes CDs, DVDs) has been wiped out by the MP3 and the Internet.

       

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    JohnParry, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 7:03pm

    Author, your grammar

    Author, your grammar is atrocious. And don't begin a sentence with "Well."

     

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    Bergman (profile), Nov 1st, 2012 @ 11:59am

    The internet tends to treat censorship as damage and routes around it.

    What's the visible difference between a computer glitch that knocks a page offline and a noticeless takedown? None whatsoever.

    My question is, would it be illegal to circumvent a noticeless takedown, even if you didn't know it was a takedown, and not a server error?

     

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