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MTNL doesn't know why it has blocked file-sharing sites

Internet providers in the city, including the state-owned telecom company MTNL, have started blocking torrent or file-sharing websites like thepiratebay.se and bitsnoop, among others.

Its officials are clueless about the rationale behind such prohibition. While most Internet service providers claimed these websites are being blocked at the insistence of the Telecom Department (DoT), sources in the DoT claim that the move has come in the wake of an order from the Delhi High Court, but is applicable not to websites as a whole, but on the download of certain films.

In the past, private companies have requested for the shutdown of file-sharing websites prior to the release of blockbusters, Don 2 and Bodyguard, for instance. But this is the first time that a state-sponsored telecom company has joined in to block websites. Nikhil Pahwa, editor of Medianama, opined that these orders are being imposed haphazardly by service providers, who are blocking the websites in their entirety rather than blocking specific links or downloads on offer.

Even websites that have almost nothing to do with file-sharing or piracy, such as pastebin.com, are being blocked. MTNL officials, when quizzed about the logic behind such a blanket ban, appeared clueless. Both the General Managers in charge of broadband services in Mumbai –M K Purohit and Bhavna Om – requested for some time to look into the matter. Purohit said, “These sites are generally blocked due to court orders or directives from the Telecom Department. But I cannot say for sure.”

Britain to block file-sharing site
File-sharing site Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK internet service providers, the British High Court ruled on April 30 this year. The website hosts links to download pirated free music and video. “Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in British artists,” the British Phonographic Industry said. “This is wrong musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work.” 

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