Hacking App PikaShow’s Insane TV Stunt Hits Millions But Will End Badly *TorrentFreak
In late 2011, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom released a promotional video that surprised even the most hardened file sharers.
Produced by Printz Board, the catchy four-minute track featured personal appearances from stars including Kanye West, Will.i.am, Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather, Jamie Foxx, Alicia Keys and Snoop Dogg.
Thanks to carefully edited soundbites, celebrities gave Megaupload glowing endorsements, with tens of millions of people watching the video, mostly on YouTube. Happening just weeks before Megaupload was shut down by the US government, this was a bold move on a scale that is unlikely to be seen again.
Dotcom reportedly sunk over a million dollars in this video, but it turns out that equally daring stunts can be pulled off with a lot less.
PikaShow – Not Just Another Hacking App
PikaShow works on most Android devices, including smartphones and tablets. It allows users to stream live TV or download movies and TV shows for offline use. PikaShow is popular around the world thanks to its captioning capabilities and for those who prefer larger screens, casting is also available.
PikaShow’s biggest draw, of course, is the price. It is currently available for free download and generates revenue through in-app advertising, part of which is provided by Google according to a recent analysis.
The amount of PikaShow generated is unclear, but when the MPA filed a complaint with the USTR in October, the Hollywood group put forward an estimate of 10 million downloads. Part of that success is likely attributable to the “smooth” and “lag-free” streams advertised by PikaShow. According to the MPA, the quality can be explained as follows:
The app sources most of the content directly from the copyright owners’ servers (Live TV and VOD) bypassing their technological measures, then hosts the stolen content on third-party cyberlockers and user-generated content platforms. users.
TorrentFreak contacted the developer of PikaShow to comment on the estimate of ten million downloads. We received no response, but given recent developments, this was not entirely unexpected.
PikaShow markets to the masses
The MPA believes that the developer of PikaShow is in India. Online evidence tends to back this up and given the recent PikaShow stunt, location theories will remain intact.
In North America, the most popular wood versus ball sport is baseball. While 500 million fans worldwide can’t be wrong, cricket’s two billion fans offer perspective. In India, few things are more important than cricket, so when the 2022 Asian Cup Cricket Tournament kicked off in late August, millions of TV screens became the center of attention in the country.
The 2022 Asian Cup drew around 200 million viewers in its first week alone, with shows brought to Indian homes by Star India, a company known for its zero-tolerance approach to piracy.
These images, broadcast by Star India, must have fallen like a lead balloon.
What prompted this bold move is unclear, and since PikaShow maintains radio silence, we may never know the exact details. However, it appears that following negotiations with the Afghanistan Cricket Board during the tournament, “Digital Video Streaming Platform” PikaShow became the new official sponsor of the country’s national team.
At this point, Afghanistan had no chance of winning the competition, but they still had one game left on the big stage. With India as an opponent, a massive TV audience and considerable exposure for PikaShow was guaranteed.
MPA: sponsorship was “controversial”
That PikaShow even considered such a wacky scheme is remarkable, but actually implementing it raises the stakes considerably. Unsurprisingly, the Motion Picture Association is fully aware of the events and describes the sponsorship deal as “controversial”.
The Board of Control For Cricket in India probably knows too. Even if the withdrawal notice it was previously sent to Google had been forgotten, posts the organization received on Twitter would have served as a reminder, including the helpful: “If you want a live game, download the pikashow app.”
Perhaps more importantly, Star India knows everything about PikaShow.
Good/bad TV stunt results
According to data from SimilarWeb, traffic to PikaShow’s website increased 25% in September following its TV escapades. October’s numbers were only slightly down, suggesting the sponsorship exercise may have boosted traffic, but not all publicity is good.
In a DMCA Notice Uploaded last week to Github, Star India called PikaShow “a rogue standalone pirate app” that has plagued the industry, OTT platforms in particular.
“Based on our investigation, we found out that ‘Pikashow’ is using your services for the ‘app update check’ feature on their app. Who further engages in the act of hacking the right copyright by providing unauthorized streams of digital content without the consent of the copyright holder,” the company wrote.
GithubGenericName replied as expected by deleting the repo, but Star India is far from done.
Civil suit, injunction, criminal investigation
After Star filed a copyright lawsuit against PikaShow in the Delhi High Court, Judge Prathiba M. Singh responded with an injunction last week. (pdf) directed to ISPs in the country, with many intermediaries providing services to PikaShow and PikaShow itself.
Gaming company 1XBET and Github India are required to disclose all information in their possession, including payment information, bank details, and any contracts in place with PikaShow.
Domain name companies NameSilo, Tucows and GoDaddy need to deactivate several domains (pikashows.com, strms.in, strms.one, jonahz-viccen-i-202.site, i-cdn-0.jonahz-viccen-i- 202 .site, cdn4506.jonahz-viccen-i-202.site) and put everything they hold back on the PikaShow operator. Indian ISPs must immediately block a list of names linked to PikaShow.
It’s unclear if PikaShow has any regrets about these civil matters, but the outlook for the future looks bleak. On October 27, 2022, Star India filed a criminal complaint against PikaShow and an investigation by Delhi Police is currently ongoing. A second criminal complaint, filed by Disneywas also recorded.
The next hearing is scheduled for January 25, 2023. It remains to be seen whether PikaShow will still be online.
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