Copies of the documentary “India's Daughter” posted by users on YouTube have been removed following a request from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which said they were violations of copyright.
Earlier, an Indian court banned the screening of the documentary based on the gang-rape of a 23-year-old student in December 2012, citing a danger to women’s safety.
Numerous copies of the film, apparently taped from the BBC Four's TV broadcast on Thursday, were posted on YouTube. The video sharing site removed some videos after requests from the Indian government.
But BBC seems to have used YouTube’s more robust ContentID verification system to expunge almost all copies of the film.
Users clicking on YouTube links for the film are greeted with this message: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by British Broadcasting Corporation.”
A screen grab of YouTube's message
The documentary though has also been posted to other lesser-known video-sharing sites and torrent networks, making it virtually impossible for the government to completely cut off access to it on the internet.
The film made by Leslee Udwin is also available on BBC's video iPlayer, a service available only in the UK. Workarounds, such as using virtual private networks (VPNs), enable users to watch it on the official website as well.
In an earlier statement, the BBC had told Hindustan Times: “The BBC has only broadcast the documentary, and made it available, in the UK. We have not uploaded it to YouTube.
The independent production company which made the film is currently taking steps to remove illegal uploads.”
The government has contended that the documentary damages the country’s image. Detractors have claimed it gives a platform to the convicted rapists. Mukesh Singh, one of the men convicted of the gang-rape, is featuring in documentary blaming the victim for the sexual assault.
However, the Editors Guild of India has opposed the ban, saying it was “wholly unwarranted, based as it is on a misunderstanding of the power and the message behind it”.