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Major piracy racket busted, accused illegally streamed premium content in US markets

The accused, a resident of Canada, operated the racket with his team in Faridabad.

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KOLKATA: In a major breakthrough, the cyber-crime branch of Faridabad police has arrested six persons including the business partner of the main accused who were allegedly involved in streaming premium Indian content in some international markets. All the employees work for a Faridabad based company— Rhysley Pvt Ltd, which is currently under investigation.

The racket was busted on 10 March, following a police complaint by online TV platform YuppTV, which reported that the company was allegedly stealing signals from various Indian and international broadcasters illegally. The complaint also detailed how it was also running back-end operations including sales of boxes, tech support and activation of boxes.

The cyber-crime unit sprang into action and conducted raids at various locations including the accused firm’s manufacturing unit and sales office in Faridabad and seized 10 systems (laptops/desktops) for forensic examination. The systems were found to have email communication related to sales of illegal set top boxes and premium Indian channels at the manufacturing unit.

"We have been struggling with piracy in the international market for the last six-seven years. For instance, 90 per cent of the content is pirated in the Canada market,” said YuppTV Uday Reddy. “They sell Android TV boxes with Live TV pirated from India, international markets, Hotstar, Voot, SonyLiv, original web-series and sports. This has been a major problem for a platform like YuppTV because we are a leader in NRI space. The overall broadcast industry is losing somewhere around 200-300 million dollars of revenue each year because of this.”

Further investigation revealed that illegal set-top box Boss IPTV allegedly used various vendors such as DataCamp as the CDN provider, GoDaddy.com, Proxy, LLC, AllstreamCorp, Canada, and infomir.eu. YuppTV issued a statement saying pirates such as Boss IPTV intercept the legitimate domestic or international signals and illegally broadcast that signal to the public all over the world. As a result, legitimate licensees/rights holders that are authorised to carry programs from broadcasters suffer huge losses on account of these crimes whose operations are being conducted from India. It also poses a grave risk to the personal data of the subscribers, as their credit cards and database can be hacked easily.

According to the statement, Boss IPTV is part of a group of pirates such as Tashan IPTV, Vois IPTV, Punjabi IPTV, Indian IPTV, Brampton IPTV, Boss Entertainment, and Guru IPTV who use the same chat provider, hosting provider, and IP address and illegally stream the broadcaster’s signal across the world. The company is registered under the name of Harpreet Randhawa who also has multiple companies registered under his name including Server Center Ltd, Chakde TV, VOIS, Tipsy Time, Tashan Iptv, 2144644 Alberta Ltd and Rhysley Couture Pvt Ltd renamed as Rhysley Pvt Ltd.

“Such raids by cyber-crime can help us understand how they are doing this. There was a dire need to clean up the two premium markets- US and Canada and send a message to these pirates. Once we get the forensic data, we will get all the information. Major private broadcasters, including Star, Colors are also in support of the crusade against Boss IPTV, the pirate cartel working under Rhysley, which is illegally streaming premium Indian content offering all the top broadcaster networks by selling the Boss IPTV service across the world,” added Reddy.

The accused identified as Sumit Sharma, Harminder Singh Sandhu, Ganesh Nair, Anil Kumar Pal, Virender Kumar, Debovrat Rai currently remain in police custody. “Stern action must be initiated against them for supporting piracy. Such pirates dilute the endeavours of the industry and must be wiped out.  The court has already dismissed the bail order against the pirates in this case, which is a step in the right direction,” said YuppTV in a statement.

Around 70-80 per cent of key international markets have been penetrated by pirates. More than 400 Indian and numerous international channels are illegally streamed in these regions, without paying any fees to Indian broadcasters. If major pirates across the globe are shut down, it will open around $113 million for the industry.

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