Is Visiting A Torrent Website Considered A Crime In India?
Copyright is referred to as exclusive right over one’s creation. Copyrights are given for dramatic or musical work, literary work, cinematographic film, and sound recording. Violation of copyright is based on the principle that by law one cannot take what has been produced by the skill and hard work of others. Torrent websites contain several items that are mostly covered by copyright laws and become accessible to the public free of cost. Now let us take a look at the legality of using torrent websites in India.
Post covid and during the lockdown, the consumption of entertainment content on the internet increased by several folds. However, the source of this content was always not ethical. People search for sources that are cheap and easily available. This results in online piracy.
- According to reports, online film piracy increased by a whopping 65% in India during February and March of 2020.
- Similarly in countries like the UK, US, Spain, and Italy, digital piracy increased over 50%.
What is a torrent?
A torrent file is essentially sent through a BitTorrent protocol. It can be any kind of file like games, movies, songs, or applications. During the transmission, the file remains incomplete and hence it is considered a torrent. Torrent files contain all the information like data, size, format, author, etc. It can be used for viewing, sharing, and downloading various content. Torrent files include Metadata and tracker information within the file.
Is using torrent websites illegal?
Recently controversy has occurred on the legality of torrent websites in India. Keeping aside all the ambiguities a complete answer is necessary for the above query. Is torrenting illegal? If not then can merely downloading a torrent file make the user a criminal?
The legality of torrents in India
Movies like Mohalla Assi, Udta Punjab, Paanch, and many other were leaked before their official release. All these movies became available on torrent sites for download even before release. It affects the overall performance of movies and their profits at the box office.
Back in July 2016 Bollywood movie, Dishoom was denied by the orders of the Bombay High court through a notification. The government bodies with the help of internet service providers blocked thousands of URLs and websites offering pirated content. At present, if any of these blocked websites are visited there is a warning message.
Copyright and Sections That Prevent Copyright Infringement
As discussed before copyright is a right of the creator over their original work. It is essentially in the form of music, sound, cinematography, literary, or dramatic work. To eliminate unauthorized access and distribution of the original work copyrights are essential.
Section 63 of copyright act 1957
This section deals with the infringement or abatement of copyright or any other rights granted by the act. According to the act, it is a punishable offense with imprisonment for a term of six months that can extend up to three years. There is also a fine of ₹50000 to ₹300000. The punishment is less than 6 months and the fine is less than ₹50000 when the infringement is not for gains or profits in the course of business.
- Section 63a
According to this section punishment mentioned in section 63 increases if the infringement is committed multiple times. The imprisonment in such a case should not be less than one year and can extend up to 3 years. The monetary fine is less than ₹1 lakh and can extend up to ₹2 lacs.
- Section 65
If an individual makes copies or imposes any tools for the process with intention of copyright infringement then the person shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine.
Is Visiting A Torrent Site A Crime?
After the notification was released by the Bombay High court misconception arose that is a torrent illegal in India or can impose fines on an individual or land them in jail. This is not the case. Browsing or visiting a block torrent website is not against Indian law. The person is required to view files in private. Downloading a file is also not a criminal offense under the laws. The act is considered a crime only when the person starts the distribution of the files or publicly showcases the downloaded material.
The offense is in making multiple copies, giving in distribution, public exhibition, or sale of unlawful copies without the consent of the copyright owner.
Reasons Why Visiting a Torrent Website Is Not a Crime in India
Public distribution or sale of copyright items is regarded as an offense when done without seeking permission from the copyright owner. It is a punishable offense with fines of up to ₹3 lacs and jail.
Torrent websites contain various browsing software that allows users to browse and download the file. Such downloading and sharing is not illegal for a person who has exclusive rights. In situations where no prior permission is given by the owner and the files are used for distribution or public showcasing it becomes a punishable offense.
The following circumstances are not considered a copyright infringement
- Dealing with dramatic musical literary or artistic work for purpose of private usage
- Reproduction of dramatic literary musical or artistic work for judicial proceedings
- Making copies of adaptation of computer software by the lawful possessor of the copy. To prepare backup copies purely for protection against damage or destruction of the computer system.
Merely visiting and downloading files from torrent websites is not illegal in India. Unauthorized distribution, making copies, and selling without permission from the copyright owner is illegal and punishable. The company offers complete support in testing software to enhance its usability by companies and individuals. We strive to provide our valued customers with the best possible solutions which include software management, testing, and implementation. We also affiliate links for every product that they review along with real-time data. The final rating is backed by user reviews to eliminate personal bias or subjectivity.