According to Viacom 18's complaint, the betting platform was illegally streaming IPL 2023.
During the unprecedented success of IPL 2023, Viacom18 was locked in a legal battle against the betting website FairPlay for the infringement of digital streaming rights of Viacom18. Following this update, Gulam Abbas Muni, a key figure behind FairPlay’s operations in India has been arrested.
The entertainment network filed a complaint against the betting website for the unlawful streaming of IPL 2023 earlier in the year.
Anil Lale, general counsel, Viacom18 Media, commented, “The unlawful streaming made it imperative for us to intervene promptly. After almost a whole year of persistence we now have one of the perpetrators behind bars. In such cases prompt action is of utmost importance. The damage caused was not just financial but also to our reputation. At Viacom18, we consistently strive to stay ahead of infringers/pirates through proactive legal measures and will continue to do so.”
Taking advantage of the hype around IPL 2023, FairPlay falsely advertised across print, digital media and hoardings in Mumbai and other major cities. Not only endorsing the gaming/betting website but also illicitly associating itself with the streaming rights of IPL, using taglines like ‘Watch IPL for Free, LIVE’. Subsequently, it was revealed that IPL 2023 was being unlawfully streamed on the FairPlay platform.
Having secured the digital rights for IPL from BCCI for a period of 5 years, Viacom18 took swift measures by seeking a pre-infringement injunction.
On April 19, 2023, the Hon’ble Madras High Court granted an injunction against FairPlay, thereby restraining the unauthorized digital streaming/hosting/downloading/exhibiting/transmitting of the IPL 2023 on the FairPlay website, including any advertisements.
Furthering their commitment to protecting their rights, Viacom18 filed a criminal complaint before the Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit (MCDCU) against FairPlay and its owners and distributors, namely Abbas, Penny and Joe, for copyright infringement, criminal conspiracy and cheating, among other offenses, thus enforcing Viacom18’s rights in IPL.
After months of thorough investigation, the MCDCU successfully arrested Abbas, one of the prime accused. The accused was produced before the court on the same day and has been remanded to police custody until the next date.