Saturday, December 04, 2004

Update : Indian IT Act legalese is reaching the local crowd now ...

Further to my earlier discussion about Kiruba's sensational post and the 210+ comments that it garnered, Kiruba has actually pulled it off from his site !

Now, he has a fairly sensible explanation on why he has had to do this after talking to a leading cyber law expert in the country.

One thing that's good that's emerged out of this discussion is the increased public awareness of the relevant sections of the Indian IT Act.

I'm still not comfortable with his (or the experts) interpretation which says "c) Watching the video isn't a criminal act by the Indian law". I'm thinking it can be. The "causes to be published in the electronic form" clause is something that can be interpreted in any number of ways.

And, freedom of expression exists only as long as my stretched hand doesn't touch the nose of the entity on the other end ! Now, that makes me think about all the wisecracks I make up about M$ :))


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My comments on Kiruba's blog being recorded here for posterity. I'm quite concerned about the points raised in "Comment 2" below. Anyone have interpretations ?

Comment 2:

BTW, I'm still concerned about your (or the experts) interpretation of "c) Watching the video isn't a criminal act by the Indian law."

I think it could be. Remember the relevant clause "Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form".

Note the word "transmit". There are various ways this can happen (with or without your knowledge essentially).

1. You unknowingly download an email (containing the offensive/debated content) from a friend.
2. You knowingly download it by email sent from a friend.
3. You knowingly search the internet for this and download it (for free).
4. You pay to download it.
5. You cause it to be sent to others (via email, bittorrent - aka peer to peer application, host it on your site). You may or may not charge for this.

I'm pretty sure that when it comes to the question of paying or being paid for it is outright illegal. Even otherwise situation 5 is illegal.

The others are bit of a grey line, at least to me. What does the law explicitly state regarding the situations 1-3 (and maybe others I haven't mentioned) ?

Do you think you can ask you legal friends ? I'll also try to do some homework on this, btw IANAL.

Cheers,
Sudhir.P

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Comment 1:

The owner is expected to keep track of what appears on his/her site.

And, that's the reason why a lot of people I know also turn off comments - spam, p0rn, hate messages, etc. Sometimes, they turn off comments for posts after a particular period.

Welcome to the unreal world !

BTW, it's kinda less of an ego trip for me now since I had raised some of these very legalese (though not to the extent as provided by a lawyer) in the 211th comment :) I had anyway recorded my take on it
here.

And, needless to say, Kribs, thanks for sharing the latter aspect on the legalese.

Cheers,
Sudhir.P

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