At the beginning of this month, the GOT episode titled “The Spoils of War” appeared on various file-sharing and streaming sites around the world a few days before its commercial release.
While it was of low-quality, the leak was illegally downloaded by a huge number of obsessed Game of Thrones fans.
As the leaked episode contained “For Internal Viewing Only” and “Star India Pvt Ltd” watermarks, anti-piracy officials were able to quickly narrow down the culprits.
“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 spokesman from Star India said at the time.
Following 10 days of investigations, the subsidiary of 21st Century Fox has figured out who was responsible for illegally releasing the episode.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Akbar Pathan revealed that the arrested men have been accused of criminal breach of trust and computer-related offences and are set to be detained until August 21.
“We investigated the case and have arrested four individuals for unauthorised publication of the fourth episode from season seven,” he told AFP.
According to authorities, the four men were part of a Mumbai-based company responsible for storing and processing the TV episodes for an app and had official credentials which enabled the access to the embargoed footage
HBO partner Star India said it happy that authorities tracked these people down.
“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.”