Over the past several years, Game of Thrones has become synonymous with fantastic drama and story telling on the one hand, and Internet piracy on the other. It’s the most pirated TV show in history, hands down.
With the new season well underway, another GoT drama began to unfold early August when the then-unaired episode “The Spoils of War” began to circulate on various file-sharing and streaming sites. The leak only trumped the official release by a few days, but that didn’t stop people downloading in droves.
As previously reported, the leaked episode stated that it was “For Internal Viewing Only” at the top of the screen and on the bottom right sported a “Star India Pvt Ltd” watermark. The company commented shortly after.
“We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action,” a spokesperson said.
Now, just ten days later, that investigation has already netted its first victims. Four people have reportedly been arrested in India for leaking the episode before it aired.
“We investigated the case and have arrested four individuals for unauthorized publication of the fourth episode from season seven,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Akbar Pathan told AFP.
The report indicates that a complaint was filed by a Mumbai-based company that was responsible for storing and processing the TV episodes for an app. It has been named locally as Prime Focus Technologies, which markets itself as a Netflix “Preferred Vendor”.
It’s claimed that at least some of the men had access to login credentials for Game of Thrones episodes which were then abused for the purposes of leaking.
Local media identified the men as Bhaskar Joshi, Alok Sharma and Abhishek Ghadiyal, who were employed by Prime Focus, and Mohamad Suhail, a former employee, who was responsible for leaking the episode onto the Internet.
All of the men were based in Bangalore and were interrogated “throughout the night” at their workplace on August 11. Star India welcomed the arrests and thanked the authorities for their swift action.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
“We at Star India and Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited stand committed and ready to help the law enforcement agencies with any technical assistance and help they may require in taking the investigation to its logical conclusion.”
The men will be held in custody until August 21 while investigations continue.