RadioandMusic
| 18 Jan 2021
When Indian music industry scored over piracy

Indian Music Industry (IMI) secretary general Savio D’Souza recounts to Radioandmusic.com (RnM) the day when the country’s music industry stood up and took on internet pirates and achieved victory against global piracy.

MUMBAI: The story starts when the virtual world rose protested against the US Legislature’s proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), and Protect IP Act (PIPA) laws. Labelling them as a draconian law that would strangle the freedom of the net, the Internet went on a global blackout in protest.

“On 16 January 2011, Google and a number of websites like Wikipedia in the United States of America blocked or blacked-out all content in protest to the new proposed law(s). Shaken by the backlash, the USA and the world placed SOPA and PIPA in the ‘back burner,’ ” D’Souza said.

However, on 27 January 2012, ‘exactly 11 days later’ in a ground-breaking initiative, IMI filed a case against ‘songs.pk’- a site where music could be downloaded illegally- praying that the entire website should be blocked on 387 ISPs.

The case was filed by a number of leading labels in India and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL). The court on hearing the matter was ceased of the problem and immediately ordered the blocking of the site – songs.pk.

“India proved that with the current laws copyright case could be filed and the Courts in India would react to challenges faced by the Industry. Subsequent to the Order 387 ISPs which were made party to the case and implemented, the blocking clearly highlighted that ‘law is enforceable’ in India.”

Encouraged by the result, IMI went a step further and obtained another order wherein 103 websites were blocked on all the 387 ISPs on 1 March 2012. This was by far the biggest and most extravagant anti-piracy action for blocking of websites anywhere in the world.

Subsequent to the blocking of websites the IMI has been monitoring leading ISPs on a fortnightly basis to see whether any of the sites that have been blocked have re-started.

“Most of the website continue to be blocked clearly indicating that the ISPs have implemented the Order. Only one of the blocked website owner i.e. smashits.com had approached IMI to unblock the site as they had paid the license fees. The Court instructed that this website be opened. No other websites have come forward to reopen their site or content the Court Order”, he said.

D’Souza has received calls from the US and Pakistan from some of these blocked owners requesting that their site be opened but none have obtained a license.

“Internet anti-piracy action calls for planning – most important resource being ‘collective action by major labels’.” he said.