Update: Airtel’s official twitter ID has tweeted that all filesharing sites are accessible using its network and none of them are blocked.
Airtel opens filesharing again
The latest news making its way around the web is that apparently the Government, specifically the Department of Telecom (DoT) India has gone Big Brother on us all over again and has this time taken on the ISPs. Filesharing websites that include the likes of Rapidshare Megaupload, Hotfile and many more were blocked, preventing access to users looking to download media content. Even as consumers were confused as to why this was so, it surfaced that Reliance Entertainment had issued Indian ISPs like Airtel, Reliance and some others a court order to prevent the pirated version of their upcoming movie, Singham, from being shared and downloaded.
After conducting our own research though, we found out that the block seemed to be generic in nature, preventing any and every content from being downloaded - Bollywood or otherwise. So what seems to have begun as a cease and desist notice to block the unauthorized sharing of a new specific movie spiraled into a generic block for all file sharing websites. Oddly though, DoT (The Department of Telecom) India, has not issued any statement, which could mean that this action was done directly by the ISPs themselves.
After speaking with a representative from Reliance Entertainment who are the official producers and distributors for the film, this is what we know. A court order was issued to get Indian ISPs to ensure that the Reliance Entertainment's movie Singham, be blocked from unlawful or rather pirated release on filesharing websites. There didn’t seem to be any mention of blocking access to anything else. The bottom line is that the block was to be issued for those trying to download this movie and this movie alone.
So why did the ISPs block these sites? Was it just some sort of easy way out for ISPs to block all sites that would potentially carry the pirated copy of the movie or is this genuinely the government’s method of curbing piracy? While to some, this may seem like the ‘right’ thing to do, we’re not sure if this blanket ban is really the right way to go about it. And of course, as all of us know there’s always a way around the system. In fact, there are already sites that are detailing simple methods to circumvent this ban altogether.
There are more questions than we have answers regarding this rather large issue and we’re sure that like us, you are as enraged and curious for answers.
So far streaming websites seem to be working, but we fear, that too may be a short lived scenario. Torrent hosting sites also seem unaffected, but it’s only a matter of time before it will be the end of the line for them as well. ISPs have apparently been issued the order to block these sites and if yours isn’t blocked yet, it will be soon. Airtel, Reliance and BSNL were apparently the first to begin this painful procedure. Speculation is also suggesting that it’s not just file sharing and torrents that will be blocked, but that porn sites will also go the same way.
Here’s a list of the sites that have been reported as blocked so far - Rapidshare.com, Megaupload.com, Mediafire.com, Hotfile.com, Fileserve.com, Filesonic.com, Filesonic.in, Megavideo.com, Novamov.com, Movshare.net, Putlocker.com, Wupload.com, Uploaded.to, UploadStation.com, Depositfiles.com, VideoBB.com etc.
A petition opposing the ban has been started for those who are opposed to the idea of this overzealous government control on websites and downloads.
Do let us know if you are able to access some of these sites, and don’t forget to mention your ISP.