Video sharing sites mysteriously blocked in India

In India Ink / NYT:

Popular video-sharing Web sites like Vimeo and The Pirate Bay were blocked this week by two of India’s major Internet service providers, cutting millions of people from the Web sites.

Indian and foreign media companies, including Reliance Entertainment, which is controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, Viacom and UTV Group, appear to have sparked the block by filing a series of lawsuits in Indian courts related to movie piracy.

The shutdown could create friction in the film community: Vimeo is a favorite of independent, aspiring filmmakers, while Reliance Entertainment is the financial partner behind Steven Spielberg’s Dream Works Studios.

Bharti Airtel customers who tried to access Vimeo and other movie-sharing Web sites from India earlier this week were greeted with a notice that said “Access to this site has been blocked as per Court Orders.” Reliance Communications customers saw a similar notice. Reliance Communications is also controlled by Mr. Ambani. By Friday morning in India, service to the sites had been restored for some Bharti Airtel customers but not all.

The two companies combined serve about a third of all telecommunications customers in India. More:

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