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Long John Doe

Posted by: Laurence Simons 27/06/12

To India now, where, speaking of 'the internet' and 'it ruining everything', the high courts are moving to clamp down on movie piracy. And Hollywood might want to sit up and take notice: in a country where piracy costs the movie industry an estimated $959 million per year, efforts in the courts have seen a 30 per cent drop in the furtive practice since 2011.

How? With John Doe orders, that's how. Pre-emptive restraints on distribution have been slapped on a number of high-profile releases, with the first ex parte unconditional John Doe granted by Delhi high court this week, for Viacom's Gangs of Wasseypur. It means local ISPs, cable operators and defendants unknown will be prevented from pirating the movie on release. And for those in entertainment law, you might want to get used to filing such paperwork.

According to Naik Naik & Co partner Madhu Gadodia, the ex parte orders are serving as an additional deterrent (despite piracy already being an actionable offence), and leading to a noticeable decline. "Our clients have realised that the rate of piracy has gone down after John Doe orders," she told Legally India.

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