Police in India have arrested four people in connection with the theft of a “Game of Thrones” season 7 episode earlier this month that was leaked to piracy sites ahead of its premiere on HBO.
Law-enforcement officials in Mumbai arrested the four individuals, who are current or former employees of Prime Focus Technologies, an outside data-management vendor for Star India, HBO’s pay-TV distribution partner in the country whose logo appeared as a watermark in the pirated copy.
According to a report by India’s Economic Times, police established the involvement of current and former Prime Focus staffers who had access to “Game of Thrones” episodes, leading to the Aug. 14 arrests.
Cops in Mumbai have charged the four individuals, whose identities were not disclosed, with criminal breach of trust and computer-related offenses. The suspects are being held until Aug. 21 as the investigation continues.
The leak of “Game of Thrones” episode four from the current season via 21st Century Fox-owned Sky India is unrelated to the massive hack of HBO’s systems in late July, in which unidentified hackers stole upwards of 1.5 terabytes of data. The standoff between HBO and the hacker or hackers — who have demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom to cease releasing the stolen material — continued Sunday with the leak of three episodes of the return of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and other series.
In the India case, links to the fourth episode of “Game of Thrones” season 7 appeared on a discussion board on Reddit on Aug. 4, two days before the episode’s premiere. While the Reddit post was removed shortly after it went up, the episode — ripped in a low-quality format — had already begun circulating on piracy networks.
In a statement, Star India said the “Game of Thrones” leak was first of its kind in the company’s history. “We are deeply grateful to the police for their swift and prompt action,” Star India said. “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 arrests in India were carried out after a joint investigation by teams from the cybercrimes units of the state of Maharashtra and the Mumbai police department.