'Force 2' piracy: Viacom18 registers FIR; KSS blames it on a theatre

MUMBAI:  The Cyber Crime Investigation Cell, BKC, Mumbai, has registered an FIR against K Sera Sera Digital Cinema Ltd (K Sera Sera) upon a complaint filed by Viacom18 in relation to online piracy of its film ‘Force-2’.

However, K Sera Sera Digital CEO Rahul Kanani had, on 7 December 2016, filed a police complaint against Prakash Cinema of Dabra, Madhya Pradesh, for the violation via a camcorder under different sections of the IPC and the Copyright Act, at the Amboli (Mumbai) police station, a copy of which has been sent to The same had been intimated to Viacom18 via email as well as hand delivery of a hard copy which had been acknowledged, KSS claimed.

Starring John Abraham, Sonakshi Sinha and Tahir Raj Bhasin, Force 2 was released on 18 November, 2016 and the pirated print of the film was found online on the same day.

Viacom18 has alleged in the complaint that the film had been leaked online by K Sera Sera, thereby infringing Viacom18’s copyright on the film along with other offences committed by K Sera Sera under Information Technology Act, Copyright Act and Indian Penal Code.

K Sera Sera was one of the firms hired by Viacom18 for digital integration of its film ‘Force 2’, wherein the Digital Content Package (DCP) was sent to K Sera Sera before the release of the film. In order to tackle the menace of online piracy and identify the leak at source, Viacom18 had developed a pioneering internal security mechanism, involving the integration of unique identifiers in each copy of the film before the DCPs were distributed to the digital integrators.

Upon the release of the film, it was found that ‘Force-2’ was available in full length on various websites for both unauthorized download and streaming in a blatant act of movie piracy, the Viacom18 complaint stated.

Investigations by the Viacom18 team revealed that pirated copies originated from the one that was sent to K Sera Sera for Digital Integration.

According to Viacom18 spokesperson, “It is really frustrating to suffer a loss due to online piracy as tremendous amount of money is invested in production, promotion and distribution of a film. This mechanism developed by us can trace the source of piracy and further strengthens our commitment to battle movie piracy. I believe that a concerted effort from the Indian film industry and support from the general public will go a long way in eradicating this illegal act. The cyber cell is presently investigating the offences complained of and it is likely to bust the nexus involved in this illegal activity. We hope the culprits are caught and brought to justice.” reached out to K Sera Sera on Thursday morning, and it stated: "We would like to clarify that we have not received any intimation from neither Viacom 18 nor from the Cyber Cell department of the Mumbai Police about the said case."

K Sera Sera further added, "As a part of this practice we regularly conduct audits of various across cinema chains where our servers are installed to stem any attempt of piracy. In November 2016, we identified one such attempt for piracy of the movie Force 2.

• On 18 November 2016, as a part of our audit process, we purchased pirated DVDs of Force 2 from the market

• All the movies distributed by us contain an additional watermark which helps us in our audit process

• We inspected these DVDs for our hard-coded watermark and found one of our watermarks on a DVD, linking to Prakash Cinema in Dabra, Madhya Pradesh. The piracy seemed to be on account of a camcorder in the cinema hall.

•         Following this discovery

o We immediately terminated the contract as well as access to the digital server for Prakash Cinema.

o We also withdrew the physical server from Prakash Cinema to check for any other attempts of infringement.

o On 7 December 2016, a complaint was filed in Amboli Police Station, Mumbai against Prakash Cinema.

o On the same day (7 December 2016) we intimated Viacom 18 about the entire matter with Prakash Cinema via an email, which also included a copy of the Police Complaint.

o On 8 December 2016, a hard copy of the email to Viacom 18 along with the Police Complaint was hand delivered to Viacom 18. The receipt of the same had been acknowledged," KSS stated.

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