Game of Thrones episode leak with Star TV watermark traced to Prime Focus Tech; 4 people arrested

NEW DELHI: “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” Ygritte told her reluctant lover, delivering one of the most iconic lines in the drama series. But  the Maharashtra police do know who leaked  episode four from season seven of  the blockbuster HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’ with the Star India watermark about 10 days back. And, the source of the crime is Prime Focus, a technology partner of Star. 

Police investigations done in Mumbai and Bangalore have shown that present and former employees of Prime Focus, technology vendor for Star India, were responsible for the leak. GOT airs in India on Star channels and its digital platform Hotstar.

“The information and material collected at the Bangalore office (of Prime Focus) and the Mumbai Police station were collated, studied and analysed by the police. On being satisfied, the investigating agency sufficiently established the role and involvement of various persons, both existing and former employees as well as outsiders,” Maharashtra special IGP (cyber) Brijesh Singh said in a statement yesterday, adding four persons were arrested on 14 August 2017.

It transpires that the leak, which was one in the series of many leaks globally involving, GOT in recent times, happened in Prime Focus Technologies’ Bengaluru office.

The police said interrogations revealed that more than one person was involved, included outside people, who had access to the raw data of the TV series. All the accused persons were produced in a court and later sent to police custody till 21 August 2017.

During investigations, Prime Focus had come forward accepting the leak had happened at its end. It also lodged a police complaint against one of its serving employees alleging that he, along with another former employee and other persons, illegally gained access to the episode and leaked it online.

Indiantelevision.com could not independently reach out to Prime Focus for the company’s reactions to the developments on online leak. 

In a separate statement Star India said, “This was the first time that an incident of this nature has occurred. We are deeply grateful to the police for their swift and prompt action. We believe that valuable intellectual property is a critical part of the development of the creative industry and strict enforcement of the law is essential to protecting it.”

On 4 August 2017, The Verge had reported an unaired episode of GOT appeared on the Internet early that morning. While HBO’s servers were breached earlier that week, this episode leak happened at GOT producer HBO’s distribution partner in India, Star India, and the company’s logo appeared watermarked throughout the leaked episode.

According to The Verge, Smartprix spotted a direct link to the MP4 of the episode over at Star India’s own distribution site, allowing people to download GOT freely before sharing it with Google Drive links on Reddit.





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