India’s Madras High Court has lifted a blanket ban on file sharing sites like The Pirate Bay following an appeal filed by a consortium of ISPs.
The original ruling made Indian internet service providers (ISPs) block access to entire sites to prevent a single film from being shared online.
It states that only specific web addresses – URLs – carrying the pirated content should be blocked, but not the entire website.
“The order of interim injunction dated 25/04/2012 is hereby clarified that the interim injunction is granted only in respect of a particular URL where the infringing movie is kept and not in respect of the entire website,” reads the updated decision.
“Further, the applicant is directed to inform about the particulars of URL where the interim movie is kept within 48 hours.”
The original order was brought into force in late March following a petition by anti-piracy firm Copyrightlabs.
However, the order’s breadth prompted fierce criticism for being heavy-handed and, critics claimed, motivated by a broader censorship agenda.
This lead to cyber attacks from the now infamous group Anonymous, who targeted a number of governmental and judicial websites.
The original ban also blocked video streaming sites like Vimeo and DailyMotion which, while certainly having problems with pirated content, are mostly designed and used for web blogging and user video content.
This change brings India’s law into line with most European laws which do not provide for the blocking of entire websites but instead require the copyright holder to apply to have specific content blocked.