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Maharashtra Cyber arrests Thop TV creator over copyright violation of Viacom18’s content

The research and analysis team of Maharashtra Cyber arrested Satish Venkateshwarlu, who had been relaying and transmitting the network’s content without authorisation at a discounted price, causing a substantial revenue loss to the network

In a recent content violation issue, Viacom18 filed an official complaint with the Maharashtra Cyber cell against Thop TV, alleging that the mobile platform had been relaying and transmitting the network’s content without authorisation at a discounted price to the common public, causing a substantial revenue loss to the network.

A research and analysis team of Maharashtra Cyber Cell investigated the matter and arrested 28-year-old Satish Venkateshwarlu, a Hyderabad-based IT engineer, under Sections 43, 66 and 66B of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Section 63 of Copyright Act, and Section 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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The accused was produced before the court and has been remanded in six days of police custody for further investigation. The accused was found to have created a standalone pirated application, through which he stole content using its inbuilt API.

Sanjay Shintre, Superintendent of Police, said, “Viacom18 Media Private Limited lodged a complaint with the Maharashtra Cyber against a mobile application, Thop TV, which was relaying and transmitting their copyrighted content such as movies, TV shows and VOD content at a discounted rate, thus causing substantial revenue loss to the company. After the initial technical investigation, it was noticed that the accused, a highly educated IT engineer from Hyderabad, developed a mobile application named ‘Thop TV’ and pirated Viacom18’s content through Telegram, a social media intermediary. The app has lakhs of viewers, including 5,000 paid subscribers, thereby generating massive revenue for the app.”

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A Viacom18 spokesperson said, “Piracy is a matter of grave concern for the media industry and one that needs to be addressed constantly. It is important to acknowledge that digital piracy is a serious offence which causes huge losses to the digital economy. Viacom18 will continue to fight this menace and secure its content through all means available under law. We are grateful to Office of the Inspector General of Police Maharashtra Cyber for their constant vigilance and timely support towards curbing piracy and copyright violation."

The entire operation was carried under the guidance of (Special Inspector General of Police) Yashashvi Yadav, (Deputy Inspector General of Police) Harish Baijal, (Superintendent of Police) Sanjay Shintre, (Deputy superintendent of Police) Vijay Khaire, (Police Inspector) Archana Sutar, (Sub-Inspector) Sandeep Patil, (Sub-Inspector) Ravikant Bhandari, (Head Constable) Santosh Bodke, (Police Constable) Avinash Salunkhe all from the Nodal Cyber Police Station, Maharashtra Cyber, Mumbai.

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