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Maharashtra Cyber cracks the whip on Thop TV for copyright violation of Viacom18’s content

Cyber Crime

Viacom18 has been at the forefront in addressing and curbing piracy of content. In a recent content violation issue, the network has filed an official complaint with Maharashtra Cyber against Thop TV, alleging that the ‘rogue, standalone’ application had been relaying and transmitting the network’s content without authorization at a discounted price to common public, thus causing a substantial revenue loss to the network.

Cognizant about the seriousness of the crime, the research and analysis team of Maharashtra Cyber immediately investigated the matter and the accused, a 28- year old, Satish Venkateshwarlu, a Hyderabad-based IT engineer was arrested under Sections 43, 66 and 66B of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Section 63 of Copyright Act, and Section 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The accused was produced before the Hon’ble Court and has been remanded to 6 days of police custody for further investigations. The accused was found to have created a standalone pirated application, through which he stole content using its inbuilt API.

Speaking on the investigation, Superintendent of Police Sanjay Shintre, said, “Viacom18 Media Private Limited lodged a complaint with the Maharashtra Cyber against a mobile application, Thop TV, which was relaying and transmitting their copyrighted content such as movies, TV shows and VOD content at a discounted rate, thus causing substantial revenue loss to the company. After the initial technical investigation, it was noticed that the accused, a highly educated IT engineer from Hyderabad developed a mobile application named ‘Thop TV’ and pirated Viacom18’s content  through Telegram, a social media intermediary. The app has lakhs of viewers, including 5,000 paid subscribers, thereby generating massive revenue for the app.”

Speaking on this development, a Viacom18 Spokesperson said, “Piracy is a matter of grave concern for the media industry and one that needs to be addressed constantly. It is important to acknowledge that digital piracy  is a serious offence which causes huge losses to the digital economy. Viacom18 will continue to fight this menace and secure its content through all means available under law. We are grateful to Office of the Inspector General of Police Maharashtra Cyber for their constant vigilance and timely support towards curbing piracy and copyright violation.

The entire operation was carried under the strict guidance of (Special Inspector General of Police) Shri. Yashashvi Yadav, (Deputy Inspector General of Police) Shri. Harish Baijal, (Superintendent of Police) Shri Sanjay Shintre, (Deputy superintendent of Police) Shri Vijay Khaire, (Police Inspector) Smt Archana Sutar, (Sub-Inspector) Shri Sandeep Patil, (Sub-Inspector) Shri Ravikant Bhandari, (Head Constable )Santosh Bodke, (Police Constable) Avinash Salunkhe all from the Nodal Cyber Police Station, Maharashtra Cyber, Mumbai.

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