Television

Star India files 100 plus FIRs against pay channels piracy in Karnataka, AP, MP

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MUMBAI:  Continuing its no-tolerance stand against illegal transmission/re-transmission of Pay TV Channels by cable operators indulging in piracy of STAR TV Signals, officials of Star TV filed complaints against cable operators in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, which led to police raids on their premises, arrests and seizures of equipment.  The raids were conducted at the control rooms of RST Digital (Karnataka), Ganesh Communication (AP) and Tanishq Communications (MP), who were found indulging in illegal transmission/re-transmission of the Star Pay Channels. (Details of initial investigations and action taken, below)

Over the last 12 months, Star India’s anti-piracy campaign has resulted in 100+ FIRs against pirating networks across the country.

The rampant issue of piracy in India has deprived the broadcast industry of reach as well as revenue worth thousands of crores. It is widely believed that the Piracy menace impacts the Television medium the most with cable operators under-reporting their subscribers as well as indulging in illegal transmission/re-transmission of the Pay Channels, resulting in significant losses to the broadcasters as well as the government exchequer. 

While the implementation of Digitally Addressable Systems (DAS) in the country will be a big corrective and preventive step, the implementation of DAS all over the country is yet to be done. In the interim, Star India, since the last few years, has adopted a policy of “zero tolerance” against operators indulging in illegal transmission/re-transmission of the Star Pay Channels.

STAR TV’s proactive steps are expected to reap significant benefits for the entire broadcast industry. 

Here are the details on the raids conducted by Star India - 

Karnataka

Initial investigations

Star India conducted discreet investigations at Kakarla town and identified that RST digital (located at No.64/8, Simaz Complex, Taluk Office, Karkala, Udupi District, Karnataka, India- 574104), which has a subscriber base of over 2500 households, was indulging in piracy through DTH. The operator was carrying illegal signals of Star India channels Star Plus, Star Sports 1, Life Ok, Suvarna & Asianet, along with Sony, Zee and Colors channels.

RST Digital has monopoly in the Karkala region and so far not allowed any new network to set up a control room in this region. It is rumored to have high connections with the ruling political party in chair.

Action taken

Post the initial investigations, Star India officials filed a First Information Report (FIR no. 135/2016 dated 25.05.2016) against RST Digital at Karkala Police Station, under section 379 of IPC r/w Sections 37,51,63,65,69 of the Copyright Act, which resulted in a raid at the premises of the operator. During the raid, the operator resisted police entry into the control room and arguments were exchanged. Piracy equipment including DTH Set Top Boxes (of Sun Direct), Umbrellas, Amplifier, Modulator, Star Boxes etc. were seized.  RST Digital’s owner Vijay Shetty is in remand since 25th May 2016 and his bail application has been rejected.

Andhra Pradesh

Initial investigations

Star India’s investigations at Rayadurg town in Ananthapur District, AP (on the border of Bellary district, Karnataka) revealed that local cable operator Ganesh Communication, which has a subscriber base of over 10,000 households, was indulging in piracy through DTH. The operator was transmitting illegal signals carrying a total of 15 channels including Star India channels Star Plus, Suvarna and MAA TV along with Sony, Zee and Gemini. 

Action taken

Post the initial investigations, Star India officials filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Ganesh Communication at the Rayadurg police station, under section 420 IPC and 63, 69 of the Copyright Act, which resulted in a raid at the premises of the operator. Piracy equipment including DTH Set Top Boxes (of Sun Direct & Videocon), Umbrellas, Amplifier, Modulator etc. were seized. During the raid, the operator resisted the entry of the Police in the control room and arguments were exchanged. The SHO (Mahanandi) then reported the matter to the Deputy Superintendent of Police and entered the control room forcefully, seized the equipment and arrested a Technician. The new owners of the network are well connected and have direct connection through MSO associations as well as ministers in AP government  

Before Star India’s action, Sun Network’s Anti-Piracy team tried to conduct a raid on Ganesh Communication but failed. 

Madhya Pradesh

Initial investigations

Star India discovered that Tanishq Communications (located at Itarsi town in Hoshangabad District, Madhya Pradesh) was indulging in the illegal transmission of channels such as Star Sports 3, Star Plus and Life Ok, through Area transgression by SV Enterprises, Hoshangabad. Tanishq Communications has a strong subscriber base of over 15,000 households in the state.  The proprietor of Tanishq Communication, Mahesh Chouksey is highly influential in the area and also well-connected with the ruling Political party.  

Action taken

Star India officials have been pursuing the matter with local police since August 2015 on 25 May 2016 filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Tanishq Communication under section Sec 63 & 65 of Copy right Act, 1957. The officials also met with the Superintendent of Police (SP), Inspector General of Police (IGP) & Director General of Police (DGP), which resulted in a raid at the premises of the operator. Piracy equipment including one Node, one Transmitter, one Channel Mixer were seized, and a Technician was arrested.

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