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Kotwali Police Station in Ludhiana busts illegal STB racket

A store in Ludhiana was running Sony and other pay channels without licence.

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KOLKATA: A store in Ludhiana, PAL Electronics, was raided by Kotwali police station on 16 March, after Sony-appointed raiding agency Mediasoft Legal Solution’s service manager Harminder Singh complained that pay channels of Sony, Star, Zee and other major broadcasters were being sold via unauthorised set-top boxes (Pagaria Boxes) without the proper licence or any distribution agreements.

The store was selling the illegal boxes at Rs 1,500 on the false pretence that the buyer can watch all the leading pay channels like SET, Sony SAB, Star Plus, Zee TV etc without any fee for a period of six months. Once the initial free subscription period would be over, the buyers could recharge it at Rs 200 for another six months, the store informed users.

When the representative of Mediasoft Legal Solutions led by the Sony Pictures Networks Team, along with the Kotwali Police Station raided the store, the team recovered 11 pre-programmed Pagaria STB boxes, which are currently in police custody. The police is investigating the matter and will be filing the FIR today.

These illegal boxes work with the help of an internet connection and receive pay channels. These Pagaria STBs are being sold to the subscribers with the aforementioned false promises. Of late, there has been a significant rise in piracy of TV channels causing much concern to broadcasters and large multi-system operators (MSOs).

Naïve users fall prey to this false claim as authentic cable and DTH operators charge around Rs 300 to 350 per month for the popular pay channels. Now with many more such raids in the pipeline by all the leading broadcasters and local MSO’s, it is a matter of time before the TV screens of the users of such illegal STBs are going to go blank suddenly one fine day, with no one to approach for any complaints or servicing. Sony Pictures Networks team has scheduled many raids across Gujarat, Punjab and other states along with other broadcasters.

TV piracy is becoming big business in India where the miscreants are giving access to multiple premium channels at lower costs with the help of emerging technologies. But with regulators now on the heels of this form of piracy, it is only a matter of time before stringent action is taken against all such players.

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