If you think HBO's efforts to punish Game of Thrones pirates were a joke, speak to the four people arrested in connection with the leak of the fourth episode of the latest season.

In early August, the Game of Thrones episode "The Spoils of War" surfaced on various file-sharing and streaming sites across the globe ahead of its commercial release.

Despite being of low-quality and trumping the official release date by only a few days, the leak was illegally downloaded by hordes of eager 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.

Advertisement

"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.

Now after 10 days of investigations, the subsidiary of 21st Century Fox has been able to track down those responsible for illegally releasing the episode.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Akbar Pathan said the four men arrested are accused of criminal breach of trust and computer-related offences and would 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.

Authorities claim the men were employees of Mumbai-based company responsible for storing and processing the TV episodes for an app and had official credentials giving them access.

HBO partner Star India said it was pleased with result.

"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."

Advertisement