Most uploads pass trouble-free but despite the warnings posted on the site itself and thousands of news reports advising that uploading copyrighted content can have consequences, the platform remains awash with infringing material.
In the overwhelming number of cases, infringements are dealt with relatively quietly, with content either monetized by YouTube’s Content ID system, removed following copyright notices and, in the latter case, sometimes accompanied by account ‘strikes’ or bans. However, a case in India reported by Odisha Television, reveals that more serious actions are available.
Launched in 1988, Odisha TV (OTV) was initially available as a cable channel but is now delivered via satellite. Its OTT platform, Tarang PLUS, is offered for the modest price of just $11.99 per year. However, this low barrier to entry isn’t enough to prevent people from pirating shows and uploading them to the wider Internet.
According to the company, one of the perpetrators was a youth named as Niranjan Senapati. The company says that he uploaded episodes of the Tara Tarini TV show to YouTube without permission and must now face the consequences.
“I uploaded Tarang’s Tara Tarini TV show episodes on my YouTube channel when I saw many other channels doing so without facing any action. But my channel was suspended on charges of copyright infringement, so I urge others not to do any such mistakes,” commented the youth, as cited by Odisha TV.
While none of that is particularly out of the ordinary, Odisha TV also filed a complaint with the Infocity Police, alleging that the youth illegally duplicated its copyrighted content and posted it on YouTube.
Even in countries where copyright enforcement is high on the political agenda, police action in such cases is extremely rare. According to the TV company, however, police responded by arresting the youth for “stealing” its content and distributing it via YouTube without permission. Details on charges have not yet been made available but Odisha TV says the matter is serious.
“Despite awareness, those who are still uploading our content don’t understand that it is leading to huge revenue losses. We want to make it clear that they should immediately stop such acts or else face legal action,” comments Ranjan Satpathy, Creative Head of Odisha Television.
Tarang TV has a popular YouTube channel of its own with where it uploads teasers and indeed full episodes of the Tara Tarini TV show for its 3.82m subscribers, so why the youth uploaded copies to his own channel isn’t clear. However, the arrest seems to show that police are prepared to take criminal action when pirates exploit Odisha TV content without permission.
Odisha TV says it also working with the police to stem what it describes as a flood of fake news reports. According to the TV company, people are posting hoax news stories to online platforms superimposed with Odisha TV logos to suggest authority, claiming that extended COVID-19 lockdowns are being put in place when they are not. Arrests have also taken place in those cases.