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Big ban theory

Is India going the US way by banning BitTorrent sites like Pirate Bay? No one’s sure

business Updated: May 14, 2012 18:28 IST
Sneha Mahale
BTJunkie-the-internet-s-largest-BitTorrent-search-engine
BTJunkie-the-internet-s-largest-BitTorrent-search-engine

Although nothing is official yet, the latest topic of discussion among techizens is whether India, too, has hopped onto the ‘BitTorrent sites ban’ bandwagon and barred popular (albeit illegal) websites like The Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrents, BitSnoop and Vimeo among others. Some members of the community have lost access to these sites. When they log on these days, they are greeted with an announcement that states that the site has been blocked “as per instructions from the Department of Telecommunications”. Others who still have access are worried about the day when they too will not be able to use these sites anymore.



“I have been using Internet services provided by Reliance and have been unable to log on to any of these sites,” says Karan Jha, a tech consultant to multi-nationals. Users of the services provided by ISPs like Reliance Communications and Zylog Wi5, reportedly are the worst affected.



While sites like The Pirate Bay, and BitSnoop are used by movie buffs to share just-released, banned or not-so-common films, books and music, techizens have been surprised by the addition of Vimeo to this list, as this is where amateur filmmakers usually share their new work.



Although downloading content via these websites is illegal in several countries, there are many who feel cheated, as they will no longer be able to watch films that are not released in India. “Forget commercial and art-house cinema. Amateurs promote their films on Vimeo and there are many films that aren’t available on Amazon or eBay. Such films will suffer a setback,” says Arjun Shah, amateur filmmaker.



And then there are those who are now looking for ways to bypass the system. Says Chris, on a Facebook page set up to mourn the demise of Torrenfreak.com, “For people who are blocked on these sites, there are ways around it. For me, Pirate Bay is blocked, but I can use a bypass proxy to access it.” Point taken?