“What is this john doe order?” asked the director on Twitter, as he was not aware if it was good for his film or not
It is remarkable that a gifted director like Anurag Kashyap was until recently unaware of the protective measures that his producers Viacom18 have taken to prevent piracy on his forthcoming release Gangs of Wasseypur. Viacom18 had applied for a John Doe order for Wasseypur and this was duly granted. What a John Doe order means is that cable operators, Internet service providers or others are not allowed to pirate the film on any platform. In India, what is also means is that certain websites are preemptively and peremptorily blocked by consent of ‘competent authority’.
The Kashyap found out about this and began tweeting: “what is this john doe order?” When some kindly soul explained to him what a John Doe order was, Kashyap wasn’t amused: “Let me find out what this entails, i had no idea of this. I am travelling promoting. Let me get back, if any site in its entirety gets blocked due to it, pl let me know.” Then realisation dawned: “The order has been taken by investing parties to protect their investment but they have assured me that it will be used responsibly and I can argue with them about not taking down entire sites and just the URL’s and they have assured they will do that, beyond that i actually have no say in the matter legally as its not my money, but whole sites getting blocked should not happen because of GoW, i will fight fr that. And i have been told that now all studios are taking that order for all releases.”
But web denizens (read pirates) took umbrage at the possibility of websites being blocked, since their so-called freedom of expression was being blocked. Anurag lashed out against this: “When my films were pirated my investors and studio never blamed me for it but when the studio got a JD order for Gow, the internet blames me. Whatever has to happen it will happen. I am proud of the film i have made n rest i am not going to reply to any accusations of the JD order. yeah but after having said what i did, if its still thrown at me i have to shut off. the only one who has the right to blame is the one who pays but he has never complained. The one who gets it free does.”
And Anurag’s assistant Neeraj Ghaywan, director of the award-winning short Shor chips in with: “NOTE: The John Doe order WILL NOT make torrent sites blocked. You will have access to Torrent sites.” That remains to be seen. Certain ISPs have already blocked popular torrent sites like thepiratebay.se, but those resourceful Swedes have set up hundreds of mirror sites that people in India can easily access.
Meanwhile, here is a sobering statistic from the Indian Motion Pictures’ Producers Association (IMPPA). The country loses USD959 million, that is, a staggering 5,375 crore rupees every year to piracy and 5,177 jobs in addition. So all of you, sitting in your cozy homes downloading music and movies while at the same time hypocritically blaming politicians and governments of corruption and thievery, please consider this. Each time you hit that illegal download button and are not paying for a copyrighted work that has taken talented teams years of effort and millions of rupees to create, YOU are the thief. And deserve to be jailed like the common criminal that you are, alongside murderers, rapists and others like yourself. Also consider the fact that the money you spend on pirated DVDs are directly employed to fund the drug and criminal mafias and will one day have a direct repercussion in your own home. You’ve been warned, but will you learn? No, of course not. That’s why we Indians are the way we are.