Piracy in the age of little Privacy: E-paper forwards, a threat to the industry

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The entire country has been on a lockdown because of the pandemic for almost forty five days now, with no signs of it re-opening anytime soon. Due to this lockdown the newspaper circulation has been majorly affected, considering social distancing as one of the major aspects of the lockdown. As a result E-papers have been really helpful in keeping the concerned citizens updated on the latest developments taking place on daily basis across the country. However, WhatsApp played a very important role here in circulating these E-papers. Due to which there has been a constant rise in the forwarding of it.

However, a recent report by ‘Dainik Bhaskar’, states that forwarding E-paper PDFs in WhatsApp groups is illegal and in case of non-compliance, actions would be taken against the administrator of the group. The news has taken netizens by surprise.

On a contrary to this post, another report by the ‘Free Press Journal’ titled, “There is no ban on sharing The Free Press Journal’s e-paper’s PDF on WhatsApp, Telegram or any social media”, has in turn generated a lot of confusion.

Screenshot of the Tweet which shows the “Dainik Bhaskar” Report
















Click here to see the above tweet.


It’s pretty simple. While information available for free can be circulated legally but not the paid ones.

The Newspaper organizations spend a whole lot of money, time on gathering news, with their journalists, reporters roaming on the ground in such dangerous situation, in fact lately few got effected by Coronavirus too.
So circulating paid news e-paper copies is as good as sharing movies, softwares and music. It’s Piracy.

According to the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), the central organization of the Indian Press, PDF copies of e-papers circulating on social media is an area of concern.

The concern here is regarding the forwarding of downloaded e-paper turned into PDF copies. It is not a matter of concern untill these e-papers are free of cost, but in case of paid e-papers, this practice is causing harm to the newspaper business, says INS president Shailesh Gupta.

“It is okay to forward PDF files which are free, but it is not okay to copy a PDF from a paid e-paper service and forward it. Basically, it is being targeted for aggregators who are trying to increase their traffic because of other newspapers; it is piracy,” Gupta said.

According to Gupta, Telegram is one such aggregator application which is under scanners right now. There are chances of action being taken under the copy right law.


Hence, the claims made by ‘Dainik Bhaskar’ is partially true. Circulation of e-paper PDFs given by the newspaper organisations for free is not illegal, but making a copy of any paid e-paper and then circulating it through Telegram and WhatsApp is illegal.


In the post above the speaker mentions the legal implications concerning this issue.

Digital piracy has largely affected the brand and the business that this industry makes. It has been a long due concern of several media houses in India. In fact this practice can also largely affect the credibility of the media houses and it can also be a reason for the widespread of misinformation, specially during such unprecedented times.

“PDFs can be edited and the content can be twisted. We cannot let it happen as we always want to give honest news to the readers,” says Gupta of INS.




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Shivangi Kapoor

Literature enthusiast in pursuit of becoming a storyteller.