Acting on complaint filed by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) , Delhi police on Friday last week registered an FIR and raided premises in Kalyanpur area of Lucknow where illegal tapping of live-contents of various popular Indian television channels was being carried out on pirated websites.

Acting on complaint filed by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) , Delhi police on Friday last week registered an FIR and raided premises in Kalyanpur area of Lucknow where illegal tapping of live-contents of various popular Indian television channels was being carried out on pirated websites. As per the facts, police during the raid on May 22, found illegal tapping of contents from channels including Zee TV, Star Plus, Colours, Sony TV among others. During the raid, over two dozen workers were caught red-handed, digitally stealing live feed of Indian TV Pay Channels using over 50 DTH and cable TV set-top boxes. These persons were extracting TV feeds, removing watermarks and uploading them on their sites such as www.Desitvforum.net.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> According to officials, these websites are being accessed by millions of viewers abroad in US, Canada, Europe, UK, Netherlands etc and thousands of dollars are being illegally earned by these pirates causing huge amount of losses to the broadcasters. In addition, there has also been rampant violation of foreign exchange regulations and money laundering. The initial investigation has revealed the mastermind of this piracy racket, to be one Mohammed Asif Siddiqui. He was arrested by the Delhi Police along with various equipment, including computers and other accessories, used in carrying out the piracy/signal theft were also seized. The officials said that more such raids are likely to be held, during the course of investigation. The modus operandi was that in addition to tapping and stealing live feed of various channels from DTH and cable set top boxes, the accused persons within these 10-12 minutes, were recording video, editing identifiable information, adding their logo and uploading it to several servers simultaneously. Industry insiders claim that this is the first occasion when an internet-pirate has been caught red-handed in India.It took over a year-long investigation and digital evidence gathered by ZEE’s in-house IT security team to collect irrefutable evidence to identify humans behind the mask of these websites, which were hosted from Sweden. With the proliferation of internet enabled devices, Indian TV channels industry has been bleeding badly. According to open-source web-based analytics, this particular group had over 10 lakh daily viewers and have been earning thousands of dollars every day. The targeted customers were mainly from US, Canada, Europe etc. According to experts, with the rapid advent of technology enabling the dissemination of content across digital platforms and web, there are enormous revenue opportunities for broadcasters and other content owners. The Indian channels which are available in more than 100 countries around the world are extremely popular amongst the South- Asian diaspora. However, piracy, stealing of signals and their unauthorised transmission & streaming on web has been a major stumbling block in revenue monetisation and in fact, the Broadcasters are losing huge revenue to these pirates. The industry captains are of the view that the provisions of existing laws such as Copyright Act, IT Act 2000 have not proved to be effective in curbing these kinds of new-age crimes as piracy is categorised as a “bailable” offence. In order to effectively deal with the menace of copyright piracy the copyright infringement should be made “non-bailable”. Similarly whether signal theft could be regarded as theft of “property” as contemplated under section 379 of IPC also needs to be clarified.

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