Thiruvananthapuram

Tamil Rockers on police radar

Anti-piracy investigators describe Tamil Rockers as a one-stop online store for pirated South Indian movies.

The website gained notoriety recently when it retailed the ‘censor copy’ of Premam , a recent Malayalam film, to thousands of its registered users. Premium account holders paid Rs. 50 per head to download the movie from the website.

Its elusive administrators have raked in lakhs of rupees from Premam alone.

This week, the website lived up to its dubious reputation by releasing the pirated DVD copy of Oru Vadakkan Selfie , another big grosser, according to Varghese Babu, ethical hacker and cyber-forensic consultant.

The website’s long and unchallenged run of success has now put it on the radar of the State Police Crime Branch.

Investigators said that a U.S.-based server hosts the website. But they were still in the dark about the identity of its owners. They suspect that the website could possibly be an income earning front for some radical group.

The agency was focussed on finding out the real world identities of the site owners. It wants to procure court warrants against them in the Premam piracy case. It was of national security interest to identify the end beneficiaries of the piracy racket, an official said.

Investigators were following several leads at once. Most have reached a dead-end. However, one has revealed that an administrator of the website routinely used a Sri Lankan IP address.

Habitually, Tamil Rockers first released a camcorder copy of films shot on the sly in cinemas.

It later replaced the “camera prints” with better formats, including DVD versions, when they were released for retail.

The bulk of the website’s earning was from pop-up advertisements and membership fee. Investigators hoped to identify the site’s owners by tracing their e-commerce accounts. They were tracking the e-payment routes of members to identify the real beneficiaries of the racket.

ADGP S. Ananthakrishnan, SP Pratheesh Kumar, Dy.SP Muhammad Iqbal and circle inspector D.K. Prithviraj were heading the investigation.



The website gained notoriety when it retailed the ‘censor copy’ of Premam to its registered users.



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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 2:33:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/tamil-rockers-on-police-radar/article7476004.ece

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