On Wednesday, the Madras High Court directed 37 internet service providers to block more than 12,000 websites, including 2,000 suspected sites of Tamilrockers. However, hours after Rajinikanth-starrer 2.0 released in theatres on Thursday, it was available on Tamilrockers. So why is it so difficult to block the torrent site?
A senior police official in the cyber crime department said his attempts to take down Tamilrockers and their proxy servers in the past were mostly futile for many reasons.
“Tamilrockers is not run by a single individual or a single entity, it is a scattered group of people, who may be anonymous to each other, possibly working abroad. In multiple occasions during some blockbuster movie leaks in the past, we have found that their sites were often hosted by proxy servers based in Russia, Ukraine or countries like that which give immunity from legal actions,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
The official said the leaks weren’t driven by personal vendetta against a particular producer.
“It is also supported and run by a section of online activists who believes in an ideology against knowledge industry, that drives these anonymous groups successful in many leaks in spite of a massive crackdown of many URLs,” the official said.
The highly awaited Rajinikanth movie, directed by Shankar and reported to have cost over Rs 500 crore to make, may have suffered significant losses due to piracy. The fear of piracy had prompted Lyca Productions – the film’s producers – to move a petition in the court with a list of 12,564 illegal websites, some of which were linked to Tamilrockers.
Even though Lyca Productions submitted a probable list of sites, a new URL of Tamilrockers with a link to ‘2.0’ appeared on Thursday and went viral on social media. Hundreds tweeted asking for a fresh link to the pirated version. Even though some URLs of some proxy sites disappeared after the initial leaks, more URLs appeared with minor changes in them. Some of the websites featured alternate spellings of Tamilrockers such as tamilrockerss.cl, tamilrockerss.website etc.
“In many cases, we found that leaked prints are mostly procured from theatres abroad, such as in Malaysia or Europe. They get recorded with camera phones by individual viewers, or from labs during post-production works,” the police official said.
V Rajendran, an expert in cyber law and the chairman of Chennai-based Digital Security Association, said a battle with such proxy sites may be a difficult task for India.
“It may be easier in countries like China where social media sites and even popular search engines are inaccessible. In India, if there is a court order to block a website, it has to go through many agencies before it get blocked finally,” he said.
“When we take days together to block or intercept a website using Sections 69(b) and 70 of Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, it takes few minutes to create a proxy URL for these proxy sites to make the same content available before thousands of people,” Rajendran said.