The internet has been abuzz with news of all the major ISPs in India blocking popular websites including piratebay, vimeo, dailymotion and pastebin etc. This is pursuant to a Chennai high court order available here and there are a number of unanswered questions about the validity of the blocking of the websites including whether the DOT were entitled to ask for a blocking of the site on the basis of the orders, 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 ten years has seen the dubious rise of John Doe orders as preemptive 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 the last ten years we have seen the ease with which one can obtain these orders for copyright infringement cases. Continue reading Meet Ashok Kumar the John Doe of India; or The Pirate Autobiography of an Unknown Indian