India’s national E-Commerce Policy may soon be updated to crack down on pirate websites. Intermediaries operating under the policy will have the right to restrict distribution of any pirated content. This latest development comes as a response to the fact that India is home to over 500 million broadband users and is a hub for digital piracy.
The government of India has struggled with piracy issues in the recent past, and the update to the national E-Commerce Policy seeks to address that issue. Intermediaries will be asked to identify trusted entities for handling copyright complaints. This means that copyright holders will be able to send notices to ISPs, directing them to remove or disable access to any kind of infringing content. It seeks to offer a similar approach to that of the DMCA. Once a website is identified as 'infringing', it will be added to the Infringing Websites List (IWL).
According to the update proposal: “Rogue websites earn their revenues through online payments made based on a subscription or advertisement revenue models. Such payments have to be routed through payment gateways, which shall not permit flow of payments to or from such rogue websites.”
Advertisers and ad agencies in India will also be restricted from placing any ads on pirate websites. While there has been no indication of how the policy will be implemented, other parts of the world restrict advertisers through trade group bodies. In addition, search engines in India will have to comply with the new regulations if they go into action and ensure that all websites from the IWL are not indexed for Indian users.