The work of art in the age of mechanical injunctions

Lawrence Liang, a lawyer and researcher based at Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, in The Hindu:

The internet has been abuzz with news of all major Internet Service Providers (ISP) in India blocking popular websites like Piratebay, Vimeo, Dailymotion and Pastebin pursuant to a Madras High Court order issued in response to a petition by the makers of the Tamil movie, 3. For those who don’t know, this is the film which features the song, “Kolaveri,” whose viral journey around the world was celebrated by virtually everyone, including the film-makers.

There are a number of unanswered questions about the validity of this, including whether the Department of Telecom was entitled to ask for sites to be blocked on the basis of the order and how the ISPs chose these particular websites since the order itself does not mention any particular website. This is not to mention the larger question of how the last 10 years have seen the dubious rise of John Doe orders as a pre-emptive measure against copyright infringement.

For those unfamiliar with John Doe orders, they are ex parte injunctions ordered against unknown persons.

Just to put this in context, ex parte injunctions are not the easiest things to obtain since they are based on the denial of another person’s right to be heard. So even for cases of violence against women, getting an ex parte restraining order is not easy. In contrast, in the last decade we have seen the ease with which one can obtain these orders for copyright infringement cases. More:

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