When ‘3' the Tamil feature film with the runaway hit number ‘Why this Kolaveri-di?' hits screens on Friday , it will be armed with a ‘John Doe' order from the Madras High Court to protect it against piracy.

The John Doe order, dubbed Ashok Kumar order in India, is taken out to prevent anybody from illegally downloading, offering to download, or selling VCDs or DVDs of the movie. ‘John Doe' is a general American term used to refer to anonymous or unknown individual.

Even the Internet Service Provider is bound by the order and has to block access to such Web sites, according to Mr Arun Mohan, who represented the petitioners, the film producers.

The order was passed by Justice Ms K.B.K. Vasuki, on a petition by the production company.

The order provides for quick action against the offender rather than react after somebody has infringed on the rights of intellectual property owners.

This is a first for the South Indian film industry, Mr Mohan said.

Such an order binds all potential infringers and does not necessitate a copyright owner having to go to court for every individual infringement.

Mr Harish Ram, Chief Executive Officer, Copyrights Labs, an online antipiracy service provider for the Tamil and Telugu film industry, who has signed up with the producers of ‘3', said the John Doe order is an additional weapon in the film industry's fight against piracy.

But the main weapon remains technology with the ability to monitor Web sites for illegal upload of content, and to identify and take action. Armed with a John Doe order, the petitioner will be able to immediately stop the illegal display of copyright protected content, he said.

The film ‘3' has Dhanush, who has sung the ‘Kolaveri', in the lead and is directed by Aishwarya Dhanush, his wife.The John Doe order must be making online pirates sing ‘Why this Kolaveri?'

rbalaji@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on March 29, 2012)
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