Viacom18 has filed an IP infringement lawsuit against illegal online betting and gambling platform Fairplay for unlawfully streaming IPL 2023 matches, leading to losses of over Rs 100 crore for the broadcasting company.
“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,” said Anil Lale, General Counsel of Viacom18, explaining the situation.
“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,” Lale added.
During the IPL season Fairplay had released advertisements saying “Watch IPL for Free, LIVE” across print and social media along with their regular advertisements promoting illegal betting services.
Notably, Viacom18 has acquired digital rights for the IPL from the BCCI for a period of five years. The Madras High Court, through an order passed in 2022, restrained over 4,500 websites, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), unknown parties from broadcasting the IPL matches.
After the advertisements from Fairplay surfaced, Viacom18 sought an injunction specifically against FairPlay which was granted by the Madras HC on April 19, 2023. However, the company has now filed a suit after it was revealed that Fairplay broadcasted the IPL.
Along with the suit, Viacom18 has also filed a criminal complaint with the Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit (MCDCU) against the owners and distributors of Fairplay including Abbas, Penny, and Joe.
The Cyber Crime Unit recently arrested Abbas, who was presented before the court and remanded to police custody. Meanwhile, the police has also interrogated multiple celebrities who helped Fairplay promote its illegal betting services.