India now blocking file sharing websites

If you live in India and visit file sharing websites, you may be out of luck: It is being reported that India is now blocking sites such as Megaupload, Putlocker, and Rapidshare. When a user attempts to visit any of these websites, they are met with a message by the Department of Telecom (DOT) stating that the site is now blocked.

As reported in our forums and on ZDnet, the blocking comes as a surprise to many end users as it seems that not everyone is blocked. Some say that they are still able to access the sites while others receive the prompt that is shown above.

The most likely reason for blocking the websites is to stop the distribution of copyrighted content. This is an unfortunate side effect because these types of sites are useful for legitimate purposes.  The Internet moves much faster than any government entity, so it is likely a new alternative will pop up in the near future for those in this region.

This type of censorship may become more common as corporations begin to use government agencies to protect their content. At what point does government involvement become too heavy? It starts with copyrighted content, but where does it end?

Image Credit: sanke1 (Neowin forums)

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38 Comments

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Interesting thing is that these sites were not blocked on the state-owned ISP, BSNL, while the other state owned ISP, MTNL(serving Mumbai & Delhi), blocked access. Reliance & Airtel customers seem to be the worst affected.

first thing first opendns is usable in india,
ban was targeted just to ensure the movie :singham: ain't shared by by any indian.
some guy in new delhi put A Public interest litigation on the rel movies about legal use of file sharing and got a notice to dot and finally the ISP of india open the gates to all the websites.
salla sara chutia panti reliance ko hi kyun sojhti hai ?.

I think there is nothing wrong from govt side , there are other sites to do the same "legitimate things" , like SkyDrive , mediafire etc etc .

Bye Bye Net Neutrality and freedom of speech. a few rotten apples and everyone pays.

I mean, like, why would someone subscribe to a megaupload or rapidshare acct anyway? I mean its not like the sites themselves don't encourage piracy.. esp with the streaming TV shows and movies available...

I use MediaFire for sharing university and friends related stuff... The last thing I'd want is some ******* telling me I'm doing piracy with this.

Not that it will be blocked in my country in the next hundred years, but still...

holdfast said,
Many/most such infringements are done by damaging the DNS. Can people there use things like OpenDNS?

I'm not sure, (I live in USA), you could try but I doubt they would be that ignorant. If that doesn't work just use any of the millions of proxies out there. Just search for "proxy" on google and you'll get millions of hits.

holdfast said,
Many/most such infringements are done by damaging the DNS. Can people there use things like OpenDNS?

I'm not sure, (I live in USA), you could try but I doubt they would be that ignorant. If that doesn't work just use any of the millions of proxies out there. Just search for "proxy" on google and you'll get millions of hits.

The ban has now been lifted(work for me on Airtel at least). Apparently, the sites were banned because of a court order from Reliance Movies to stop the piracy of their latest movie, Singham.

Navan said,
The ban has now been lifted(work for me on Airtel at least). Apparently, the sites were banned because of a court order from Reliance Movies to stop the piracy of their latest movie, Singham.

Never heard of it......

Mohitster said,
Still working for me - And as much as people might say, these sites are used for illegal file sharing 99% of the times!!

That is a ridiculous claim and you are part of the problem if you support actions like this. This is blatant censorship, and its a horrible logic to follow. Banning websites because they have the potential to be used for piracy. Anything can be abused or misused if you try. That doesn't mean we should ban everything.

Shea J said,

That is a ridiculous claim and you are part of the problem if you support actions like this. This is blatant censorship, and its a horrible logic to follow. Banning websites because they have the potential to be used for piracy. Anything can be abused or misused if you try. That doesn't mean we should ban everything.


Agree. Now, OK maybe most files people upload and download from those sites would go as piracy that isnt quite reason enough to just outright censor/block them.
If that's enough maybe we should restrict internet access to people above the age of 18, after all a majority of the material on the internet is restricted to people over 18.
(No, I do not in any way support piracy but I do not support censoring of the Internet either.)

Mohitster said,
Still working for me - And as much as people might say, these sites are used for illegal file sharing 99% of the times!!

You should block google then, since people use google to search for illegal stuff.

Mohitster said,
Still working for me - And as much as people might say, these sites are used for illegal file sharing 99% of the times!!

Nice pulling statistics out of your ass.

Mohitster said,
Still working for me - And as much as people might say, these sites are used for illegal file sharing 99% of the times!!

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Radster said,
megaupload is accessible on state owned ISP BSNL as well as private operator Airtel.

im using BSNL chandigarh and Connect, working on both

Indian govt following footsteps of China. This is really ridiculous, these sites are used for legitimate purposes as well. Great Indian Firewall in making, this is strangulation of internet freedom. really sick!!!

ilovetech said,
Indian govt following footsteps of China. This is really ridiculous, these sites are used for legitimate purposes as well. Great Indian Firewall in making, this is strangulation of internet freedom. really sick!!!

You don't get it, do you. This is much more important than solving the little problem of almost 50% of the Indian population living below the poverty line. Priorities, my friend.

Shiranui said,

You don't get it, do you. This is much more important than solving the little problem of almost 50% of the Indian population living below the poverty line. Priorities, my friend.

You forgot the sarcasm tag.