Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Vimeo, DailyMotion, Pastebin, Xmarks & Major Torrent Sites Blocked in India (indiancustomers.in)
247 points by RealGeek on May 17, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 107 comments

Its getting ridiculous by the day, the way laws are being set here in India.

Recently the Supreme Court of India, has ordered that all cars must get rid of their sun films. Even tinted glasses of any tint percentage aren't allowed. This is because they think the kidnapping, terrorism and crimes against women will stop if the cars get rid of sun films and tint on windows. People are predicting heavy bribe business in early days after ban is enforced.

In another instance, the court has also ordered that heavy vehicles like lorries, trucks and other goods/passenger vehicles get speed regulators fixed preventing them from going above some level(I guess that is 60 Km) this is because some boy died in a over speeding accident. From what I hear, there is a strike planned to counter this.

Coming to Piracy, its ridiculous to think that they are going to stop piracy by banning torrent and video sites. In a country where pirated CD's are available on the footpath for the price of peanuts, Piracy isn't going to be that easy to solve. In fact of bulk of the piracy business happens, through those means. Very few people apart from the computer savvy ones know how to use torrents, or even know what torrents are.

I am somewhat amazed that you are clubbing somewhat unrelated issues with a problem that directly threatens freedom of internet access in India.While, I do not take any sides -tinting of car glasses was prohibited by few state governments before. Also I am not sure if installing speed regulators is a step in the right direction but people getting killed in road accidents is a real problem in India. Remember that Lambourghuini mowing down several people in New Delhi?

But lets not call it "getting ridiculous by the day" yet. These orders were passed by court and not laws that parliament tried to make to achieve a totalitarian state and as such these orders are open for challenge by anyone. For example, it is likely that Madras High Court judgement was rushed through and there weren't anyone[probably] challenging it and hence it is now being enforced by ISPs.

>>I am somewhat amazed that you are clubbing somewhat unrelated issues with a problem that directly threatens freedom of internet access in India.

These are not unrelated issues. The common thing among these issues is the knee jerk reaction by authorities to fix social problems with artificial and infeasible patches to social living conditions of a country.

Do you think piracy can be solved in India by just blocking torrents. Piracy has been existing from long back. Even before all this you could buy pirated audio and video cassettes from foot paths. By restricting sites like pastebin they are actually showing how clueless they are about the root cause of the issues.

You will see a similar pattern in all these bans.

    1. Some one commits a crime.
    2. Investigation reveals a tool used to commit crime.
    3. Courts/Authorities think banning the tool prevents the crime from happening again.
>>Remember that Lambourghuini mowing down several people in New Delhi?

Yes, Roads and foot paths are meant to drive and walk on. If you sleep on the road you shouldn't look too surprised if people drive over you.

The solution to this problem is to provide affordable housing to people so that they can sleep in their homes, instead of putting the speed limitation.

As I said, we don't look at the root cause.

> "It is likely that Madras High Court judgement was rushed through" I would get worried if this were the case. Serious cases take years to pass through Indian courts. If Copyright Labs (which I increasingly feel is a facade company) got this rushed through the court AND got the ISPs to block access at such a blanket level I would start getting worried about the integrity of that court.

My point was the cases that drag for years generally has two sides, but what if the case had only one side? Copyright Labs wanted certain sites banned and obviously Vimeo, Pastebin etc have zero ground presence in India so there wasn't really anyone protesting the case of Copyright Labs. I am betting, if there was someone opposing what Copyright Labs was claiming, the outcome would have been different.

If a court is banning a publication, surely at least someone might be expected to go and double check that the claim isn't bullshit. You know, just on the basis of it being their job, or something nice like that. Otherwise it isn't really a court, is it? Is more like just a carefully staged sketch show with unusually high consequences.

Update: Indian Supreme Court website hacked in response to TPB, Vimeo block http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3986661

"Even tinted glasses of any tint percentage aren't allowed" You are either misinformed or deliberately misleading.

"heavy vehicles like lorries ... get speed regulators ... a over speeding accident" Studies have shown and statistics in India have shown that most accidents are caused by excess speeds.

Apparently you just don't laws. Careful, people like you end up in jail someday. Just because piracy is a difficult problem, doesn't mean that you don't put pirates out of business. Stop buying stuff on the footpath.

Time to start distributing tor.

Though I am frankly amazed that pastebin was blocked. I know what its used for... everything. It is about as nefarious as a chalk board. When are those getting banned?

Basically anything that makes content sharing easy, becomes a threat to the government.

The thing is Radio, TV and Papers are already bought by the government. Its paid media, and media that is isn't paid is generally killed.

Internet is a dangerous beast. No centralized control, amazingly rich content can be shared seamlessly. This is dangerous to the government. That is why there is so much commotion.

The really disturbing aspect of these blocking is the blatant manner in which websites which are known for their self-regulation (mainly for quality control) like Vimeo have been blacked out presumably by twisting the Chennai High court order against 'video sharing websites' by Copyright Labs, which seems to be a dummy company http://goo.gl/a1rjS . There is an alarming lack of internet literacy among the law makers and keepers who need to be educated on these issues so that such ridiculous incidents don't happen again.

There is zero need for shortened links on HN. (Also, this one goes to http://www.copyrightlabs.in/index.php/ceos-desk, which is down for maintenance now.)

"We Protect your move from spreading through Torrent" - They haven't even ran a spell checker on their site, can't stop laughing at these people.

"I worried more about piracy and it almost spoils everyone in the movie industry" ... only a man of such eloquence is capable of such otherwise impossible tasks ...

None of those words have been misspelled...

'protect your move ...' Move? What move?

Him spell chucker work grate, need gramma chicken.

His point is a spell checker wouldn't have helped here!

Not a software one, anyway.

bigfoot if you are using MS Word 2045 with built-in AI spell-checker and logic-checker, then yeah it should caught it.

I have 2011 and it comes out just fine.

the one you bust

The site is quite ridiculous, so you are probably right about it being some dummy company.

It is not a dummy company, it should be a company with significant backing, may be it should have been put up in a hurry. I was expecting something of this sort when many politicians and their kin started acting in movies and buying stakes in production companies. From their contacts page I could see that they are based in chennai

Dummy meaning it is a facade put up by some vested interests. To my mind there is no way a genuine company can get this done without a legal (or should I say, illegal) backdoor.

If you want to access the blocked sites, the surest way is to get a free mini instance with amazon(or use an existing one), and use ssh dynamic port forwarding for you browsing.

    ssh -D 8080 -i your_amazon_key.pem username@ec2-instance
    # Followed by changing your browser/system settings to use localhost:8080 as socks v5 proxy
If you are concerned about some ass-hats censoring the web because of some upcoming movie I don't give two fucks about, or Airtel/Reliance bending over backwards to enforce the ban, I don't know what to do.

"Some movie is coming out, we are afraid we will lose revenue if people pirate it. I know what to do. Let's get a court order asking ISPs to ban sites which are infringing upon the movie(the good old ISP, takes the safer route and blocks whole sites since it doesn't know or doesn't want to stop just the movie). Hey look, people are still able to get through to the movie. Let's get another court order asking the ISPs to stop service altogether for 6 months."

"Rape cases on a rise and most rapes happen at night. Let's stop people from going out at night. Still not working. Let's stop people from going out altogether."

I can understand the concerns about loss of revenue over piracy, but these dystopian measures aren't worth whatever hypothetical losses you might be suffering.

In that case may as well install a proxy on the mini-instance, along with an OpenVPN server.

There are OpenVPN clients available for most platforms, configuration is easy and using it is trivial ("install and forget").

Just to clear up some air here ... The government, as in the Central or State governing bodies have not blocked any sites, nor have they passed any orders for the same. The issue involves a company, Copyright Labs (http://www.copyrightlabs.in/index.php) which through the Madras High Court got a John Doe order to get ISPs to block access to certain sites to 'ensure' that an upcoming movie is not pirated. What is worrying w.r.t. the government is summed up quite aptly here: https://twitter.com/#!/pranesh_prakash/status/20306526313290...

Exactly. Drumming this news as somehow - Executive arm of our constitution took power in its hands and decided to block websites unilaterally is false. I still lament the lack of knowledge judiciary has, when it comes to passing judgement on such things but I don't see Central or State Govt. at fault here.

Is that really a meaningful distinction? The judiciary is part of the government, and the other parts are bound by its decisions. Honestly I don't know how judges in India are selected, but presumably it's subject to the same democratic checks as elsewhere (either because they are directly elected or because they are appointed by elected politicians). "The government" doesn't get off the hook just because it was a court that did the dirty work.

The Central govt general 'control everything' approach does make things worse, especially given their track record of not being able to do anything useful in the past 5, I dare even say 10, years.

No, these sites are being blocked. I am on Airtel as well and things weren't blocked until yesterday. I think Reliance was the first to enforce the block - I believe they're also the ones who filed for the court order. It's really good to see this on the HN front-page, and hope there's more awareness / discussion. Blocking pastebin is a bit ridiculous :/ - the message one gets when one goes to any of the sites is just "This site has been blocked as per Court Orders", without any other explanation. Changing DNS servers does not work, so they are doing it at a different level.

tl;dr: sites are being blocked. wtf?

I checked it on Airtel broadband, Airtel 3G and MTNL in New Delhi. It is blocked here, I get this error:

Access to this site has been blocked as per Court Orders

All sites work fine for me using Google's DNS servers on Airtel.

I am on MTNL. I switched to Google DNS and all sites can be accessed again. Some days the Google DNS workaround was not working.

Here's the court order for the inclined - http://www.scribd.com/doc/93879417/John-Doe-order-to-block-s...

IANAL, but as far as the court order goes there are no specific sites mentioned to be blocked. This implies, service providers like Airtel have perceived the aforementioned sites to be liable for copyright infringement. It is curious as to how they decided Pastebin and not Youtube could be used for "copyright infringement".

I'm confused. It says "...or anyone claiming through them be and are hereby restrained (...) from in any manner infringing the applicant's copyright in the cinematographic film...". How is it that a court can order someone not to break the law? And how can that be understood as "cease all operations"?

Isn't it great India also wants to rally all the world's governments to take control over the internet, overseen of course by the UN


The indian govt is trying to get the UN to regulate the internet with help from countries like Russia and some Arab countries . Its trying to form a 50 member UN Committee called the Committee for Internet Policy . They re saying its to end the US dominance over Internet Policy .. Im suspicious..

How ironic they do not listen to their own countryman, U.N. Commissioner Pravin Lal.

"As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."

I am on airtel, got the "This site has been blocked as per Court Orders" message when trying to access vimeo this morning, and was taken by surprise. Why would one want to block vimeo? These guys have to at least say why they blocked it. The most stupid thing is blocking pastebin, if they are going to block a site due to someone writing something that is objectionable, then I think almost all sites which accepts and displays user inputs qualifies to be taken down. If you see the comments in youtube.com/indiatimes.com during an IPL match you can find all sorts of nasty comments and one can easily argue that these sites should be taken down. I am even considering switching from Airtel to some other ISP if they are not blocking traffic.

It is a John Doe order being enforced because some big movie is being released and they don't want it to be pirated. Those of us who use Vimeo for leisure or work are evidently lesser citizens ...

A few days back, customers of Reliance faced blocking of Torrent and Vimeo, which was later unblocked. Meanwhile, BSNL did not block any of these sites.

I think that the reason behind this block-unblock cycle that reliance goes through every time a movie of theirs is released is quite simple. They do not want to block these sites permanently because then they lose an edge in the competition with airtel.

On the other hand whenever a movie from Reliance entertainment comes out they want to avoid the cams to spread for the first few weeks so they block these sites. Once the first couple of weeks have passed they undo the blocks.

Having a Tata Photon+ wireless (EVDO) connection, as well as an MTNL (Mumbai) broadband and a local internet provider (Hathway) in my home and/or at work, I haven't seen this in action. I am not sure whether Airtel and Reliance have any vested interest (far be me from it!), but Reliance is also the owner of BIG Entertainment and BIG Pictures (both owned by the younger Ambani), and the Mittals of Airtel have tied up with BigFlix. In other words, this may be a net non-neutrality move, not the first of its kind.

why pastebin then?

Now Anonymous - operation India have protested by taking down the websites of supreme court of India and AICC (ruling party of India) websites.

They only blocked http access, it looks like. Sites that support https still work.

I guess the ISPs are only sniffing port 80?

No, It means the people who are blocking sites don't know how to do it properly.

Having said that, this is hardly surprising.

At least vimeo is still blocked on port 443.

I think that's because they redirect to http?

The Pirate Bay works on https (I love that they have legit certs)

I can access most of the websites using https, but Vimeo redirects to http site.

This is happening so often in India that it isn't even newsworthy anymore :(

For those outside India who are wondering, only Airtel (private) seems to have blocked sites. I have a BSNL (state owned) broadband connection and everything still loads fine for me.

That's probably because the BSNL employees are still having the samosas/chai they ordered?

While I agree that Vimeo and DailyMotion should not have been blocked since they don't allow pirated video, it is possible that KolaveriDi did appear there and that evidence must have been presented to the court to get a block on those sites. If that is not true then I am sure someone will appeal.

However, I strongly support shutting Pirate sites and illegal file downloads. There is a good reason why Bollywood is so much smaller than Hollywood - rampant Piracy in India. Remember you are doing India a great disservice by pirating - India loses jobs and creative people suffer.

> However, I strongly support shutting Pirate sites and illegal file downloads.

Except this isn't shutting down pirate sites, this is making sure that 90% of people can't access them by ordering major ISPs to interfere with communications between their customers and the websites in question (some might call this "censorship" or "protectionism"). I agree that TPB-style piracy is usually a bad thing, but do the ends really justify the means here? The blocking of Vimeo and Dailymotion suggest that this is a very, very slippery slope.

Are they blocking by IP or just DNS? Are you guys typing just domain names, or are you trying the IP addresses too? Add a line to your HOSTS file and see what happens: vimeo.com www.vimeo.com

Several are claiming that HTTPS still works, which means it's not DNS-level or IP-level. It may be IP+port level, or the only thing that I can really think which is left is deep-packet inspection: a Linux user in India could easily test this with something like:

    curl -v -H "Host: thepiratebay.se" http://www.google.com/

I got "Access to this site has been blocked as per Court Orders" message when I tried this.

It's not surprising, because a year or so ago Airtel was using deep packet inspection to throttle torrents and file sharing sites. They already have the necessary equipment in place, they can use it when and as they please.

Excellent, works.

I am using airtel in New Delhi and the sites seem to be working. specifically checked vimeo, xmarks, pastebin.

This is from our leased line via Airtel, so it seems that corporates are exempt from the ban.

it is banned in chennai, can't access on my office leased line

YouTube has live streams now? That's the second I've seen, the only other was IPL...

I suppose we just have to have faith in the average techie's ability to bypass these restrictions, which seem to be becoming a global phenomenon, not just a western one. OK I know china has blocked a huge amount of sites for years, but it's only recently in the west that serious impingements on our right to information have begun to happen. As for the masses who don't have a clue how to use a VPN or a proxy, I feel sorry for them. They're becoming victims of control.

Just in: the motion to get the draconian IT Rules 2011 act annulled has been negatived. https://twitter.com/#!/PRSLegislative/status/203069104331030... This and acts like it are central to such ridiculousness even being possible ...

Court _has not_ ordered to block any website. The order asks ISPs to make sure that illegal copies of movies does not get distributed. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bxi2TzVXul5ZUl9EclRQZXlRdVdU...

I personally think that it is actually a good thing that they are targeting these sites and hope they are going to ban YouTube as well. People need to feel the pain of censorship in order to act, and the more popular the censored websites are, the more I see a chance for action.

Let's hit them where it hurts. Sign and share this petition..


..and we can announce that we're a vote bank that can hurt them.

How does this help? At all?

If there are enough votes at stake, the politicians will back our interests.


By threatening to not vote for a party?

No, hitting them where it hurts is by cancelling your subscription. Speak the language they understand, vote with your money.

No it isn't. Everything is working fine for me. I checked in Airtel, and over NIC (National Informatics Center). If it isn't blocked by the NIC (gov. body, btw, I am a gov employee) I doubt whether anyone else would block it.

It is blocked on major ISPs like Airtel, MTNL & Reliance. Some ISPs may have not implemented the block yet, but may follow soon.

My reliance connection allows TPB, Vimeo and Pastebin. I can confirm that at least vimeo and TPB were blocked till a few days ago when I checked.

May be he is infected by a malware that blocks these sites?

This should shift the s/w outsourcing edge away from India.

I think the rest of the world should consider this good news and encourage them to find more creative ways to 'protect' against imaginary criminal activity.

I use Airtel at home and these sites are blocked. But we use a different ISP at work and vimeo and pastebin are not blocked. Can anybody who uses another ISP confirm that it is not just Airtel?

It may be working via few isps and dns servers. But the whole point of excercising a ban on websites is absurd. Wonder how the court is controlled by the big shots in India.

The CEO of Copyrightlabs was just on TV. He says he wanted the ISPs to only block specific URLs serving pirated content but the ISPs went ahead and blocked the whole sites

What channel was this on? I want to follow this on TV but have not seen this reported yet.

i think freedom is our fundamental right. but it seems some political parties want that people in India, behave like a Chinese people, where you do not have any right to say anything against govt.its very ridiculous person like some leader is free to move anywhere and they can promote any lady to just full fill one demand of sex.our Leader says that its fundamental right of that person.but,we are not allowed to watch video according to our choice.

This is pretty lame, blocking sites is not the way to go. If you find something that is pirated, flag/report it to get the video removed.

No it isn't. I checked vimeo after I saw a tweet about it being blocked. Was working fine for me. My ISP is semi-govt org.

No website can be blocked. If they think they blocked any, they are only fooling themselves.

Main thing is ISP guys don't know why they are blocking sites. Specially MTNL.

Damn. It is blocked in certain ISP only. Everything is working on my network

Pretty lame. This is just going to push more and more people to use VPNs.

I am using Airtel in Mumbai and the sites are blocked. Crazy stuff!

My faith in universal human rationality is decreasing day by day.

Very few humans are rational...

No problem accessing vimeo or pastebin. Checked on Tata photon+.

This is what I get:

Access to this site has been blocked as per Court Orders

Which ISP ? Location ?

Delhi. Airtel.

Blocked on Airtel :( MTS seems fine for now.

Solutions? Using Firefox & Windows.

India is a retarded nation

fine with Tata Indicom

I wonder what Vimeo and Pastebin did to end up on this list. These two are definitely odd (and harmless) apples in that bunch.

same about xmarks, it's bookmarking service for god's sake...

WTFFF !!!!! What does Pastebin & Vimeo even have to do with the "Piracy Stuff" !!!

How foolish is the Indian Government !! Seriously !!!

why is that? esp on pastebin that is.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact