The Madras high court has issued a ‘John Doe’ order restraining unknown persons from violating the copyrights of Tamil film ‘Maattrraan’. John Doe or Ashok Kumar order is a legal tool to contain online piracy, as it is expected to restrain violators, whose identities are not known, from uploading copyrighted materials without permission.
Justice K Chandru, granting the interim relief to Kalpathi S Agoram, producer of the Suriya-starrer, asked him or his representative to give information relating to specific infringement to internet service providers (ISPs), who would then block the link to the infringed material available online.
The producer’s suit listed 45 service providers, including BSNL, besides Ashok Kumar or John Doe, representing the unknown person/entity which uploads copyright-infringed material online. In March this year, Tamil film ’3′, directed by Rajnikanth’s daughter Aishwarya became the first film to obtain the John Doe order from the Madras high court. The order, however, created an online mayhem as several websites were blocked by service providers.
The court then clarified that the order pertained to the specific universal resource locator (URL), a specific character string that constitutes a reference to an internet resource, and not the entire website. Among other popular films that obtained similar John Doe orders was ‘Gangs of Wasserpur’.