India is a hotbed of internet piracy. Torrents are not new. People don’t like buying TV shows, music or movies. The list is endless. That is the reality we live in- for now.

A recent study revealed that India is one of the worst countries in pirating TV shows and movies. The trend is not going to change anytime soon.

Although websites like Pirate Bay help millions of Indians download media, they have many powerful enemies.

Although the bug to protect creators started in the west, we can authoritatively report that torrent sites have a new enemy. The Indian government started blocking favorite torrent websites the other day. To back up their actions, they’re now issuing warning notifications to those who use torrent sites for illegal downloads.

In the new notifications, the government has included flare to the warning against illegal downloads.  Torrent users face immediate arrest and doing prison time of up to three years if they continue downloading illegal material. Penalties for using illegal download sites and torrents also include a hefty fine.

A government notification we reads, “Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of up to Rs. 3, 00,000/-.”

Should the warnings scare you? Are the threats as real as they sound?

This has been the subject of speculation with many techies weighing in.

India Today says, “You don’t have to download a torrent file, and then the actual videos or other files, which might have copyright. Just accessing information under a blocked URL will land you in jail and leave your bank account poorer by Rs 3 lakh.”

Do we think that these warnings merit your attention?

Our team studied the notification and debated the validity of these threats.

Our discovery was quite interesting. First, there seems to be no new law outlawing the access of certain files. The law the government is quoting in the warnings comes from India’s 1957 Copyright Act. This is nothing new.

Other murky areas in the law are how the government will deal with privacy laws. Separating normal file sharing will be an uphill task.

Whether the warning succeeds or not, public anxiety and awareness won. We will keep you posted in the event of new developments.

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