The government of India wants to punish people who even visit a blocked URL. A new directive on the blocked websites says that the user will be fined up to 3,00,000 and will be imprisoned for 3 years under 1957 Copyright act.
It is for even viewing these websites where the content is hosted. So even if you are accessing any legal material through these websites, you'd be in trouble.
As usual and not to be surprized, the language of the warning is vague without any proper guidelines or announcement done by either Department of Telecommunications or the Government of India. According to the warning ‘viewing’, ‘downloading’, ‘exhibiting’ or ‘duplicating’ ‘an illicit copy of content under this URL’ is deemed as a punishable offence.
This puts a question in my mind, Downloading content like movies, How is that any different from borrowing a DVD from a friend ? except in this case its online.
The Message that appears on blocked sites.
"This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents of this URL is punishable as an offense 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/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at email@example.com who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance".
There was mix reactions as many users welcome the move, but majority, including me where not happy with such laws that is very harsh. Also it was not clear what was the role of Tatacommunications in it.
Good news is that someone did more investigation on the issue and it appears you may not go to jail for visiting a blocked site. Here is what he wants to say about it.