The Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit (MCDCU) suspended 11 websites after identifying them as the distributors of pirated content. The MCDCU was started last year with the sole purpose of shutting down websites that display pirated content, and Special Inspector General of Police, Maharashtra cyber cell, Brijesh Singh told PTI that the total viewership from these websites accounted for more than 80 million.
The websites were pulled down following complaints from the entertainment industry, mainly from giants Viacom and Star, a police inspector in the cyber cell, Laxman Kamble said in a statement.
The now-defunct domain names were not identified to prevent them from getting more attention, Torrent Freak reported.
How is India winning the battle against piracy?
According to Kamble, the one-of-its-kind project to curb piracy was started in India after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis received complaints from big media corporations Viacom and Star.
The authorities in India borrowed a page from UK's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) while establishing its Digital Crime Unit with a multi-stage plan. This involves serving pirate sites and their partners with cease-and-desist orders, then filing complaints with advertisers to stop funding the sites and finally reaching out to service providers and domain registrars to suspend services to the websites.
While suspending 11 websites doesn't seem substantial compared to the massive pool of resources available on the internet to source pirated content, it's a step in the right direction. The DCU had listed around 9,000 sites where pirated content was available and from there 1,300 were targeted for action last July. But there's no information on how many domains were contacted in this regard, TorrentFreak reported.
The DCU applied 19 parameters, including the type of content being uploaded, downloaded and the number of downloads, from PIPCU model in order to shortlist the pirate sites. Following initial success, the DCU is targeting further 89 websites that are popular in India but registered abroad.
The domain registrars for the 11 websites were booked under Section 149 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure. The success of DCU's broader approach towards targeting internationally registered pirate sites remains inconclusive for now.