Don’t panic! You WON’T land up in jail for “viewing” Torrentz

All you movie buffs must have been shattered by now – Courtesy: Torrentz ban. Apparently, a lot of news is doing the rounds, the latest one being–even “viewing” a torrentz website may land you up in jail or you need to shell out Rs 3 Lakhs as fine! All hell broke loose with this news which was like adding more fuel to the fire for the Torrentz fans. Well, not right now. Just sit back and relax! You can still walk down memory lane and have a glance of the Torrentz website anytime you want (Although, now it’s just a useless domain that says “Torrentz was a free, fast and powerful meta-search engine….”)


Image via Flickr

Recent reports claim, all this confusion was due to a message conveyed by Tata Communications Limited (TCL) which was miscommunicated online. A few days back, many users who tried to access a blocked URL or web address with torrentz encountered a message from TCL. The message reads like this. “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 under this URL is punishable as an offence 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 upto Rs. 3,00,000/-“

This message was misinterpreted by a lot of online forums and the news spread like wild fire. Advocates across the country clarified that the sections which are referred in the notice do not criminalise to mere access in isolation. In this case, the said error message text was allowed by the judge only for TCL, and none of the other internet service providers who were part of the case. Besides, this order is operational only till September 19, 2016, when it will be revisited by the court.

Torrentz was simply a search engine platform for media files and “Kickass Torrents”(KAT) was the main supplier of a .torrent file and .magnet links that helps to download unauthorized media files through Torrentz. From the most recent ‘camcorder’ release to HD quality files, people always used to rely on Kickass Torrentz to download their favourite picks. Things got a bit out of hand when recently the US government has been on a strict crack down spree on copyright infringement activities which Torrentz and kickass Torrentz were a part of.

KAT went to the seeds after the arrest of its owner Artem Vaulin in Poland. Ukrainian Vaulin, 30, was alleged to commit criminal copyright infringement who’s responsible for distributing over $1billion of copyrighted materials illegally. It is after this incident that Torrentz authorities decided to shut down their site for good. The arrest of Vaulin was not taken down well with KAT fans and they created a clone site of Torrentz and KAT as a mark of protest.

India is considered as one of the highest consumers of pirated content. Recently, there have been a lot of cases where controversial or most talked about films leaked online just a couple of days before the release of those films. Udta Punjab and Rajnikanth starrer magnum opus ‘Kabali’ were the latest targets. It was the makers of Kabali who tried to remove the links as much as they can and this drive was followed by the arrest of Vaulin within that period of time.

Shall we expect a resurrection of websites like Torrentz still demands more time. Till then, watch this space for more updates on this issue.


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