Actors and makers of a web show titled "D-Code" are crying foul over what they claim is illegal practice on part of the on-demand video-streaming platform, ULLU app. According to the cast and crew, certain bold sequences filmed for the show have mushroomed on various porn sites.
The app owners, on their part, claim helplessness over the situation, saying all such sequences have been filched by cyber pirates without their knowledge, the same way that blockbuster movies are illegally available online.
The makers of "D-Code", however, feel not enough has been done to protect their show.
"I am aware of at least 20 to 25 porn sites. I am sure there are many more, where intimate scenes from my show have been posted. Clips of 18 to 40 minutes have been created combining actual shots from the show, 'making of' shots and also footages of scenes of the actors on the set in between shots," said producer-director Roshaan Garry of "D-Code", naming sites such as iporntv.net and score69.com and bestwifeporn.com where content of her show has wrongfully made way.
When IANS contacted Vibhu Agarwal, CEO of ULLU, he cited helplessness over the situation. "Pirates have a specific target to hack, pick and post content in the wrong places. We have an IT team working overtime to stop such occurrences, but these things are practically unstoppable, just as you cannot stop piracy of a big film which is leaked online no sooner that it releases. Forget us, can Netflix and Amazon Prime with so many filters stop piracy of their content?"
"We cannot catch the perpetrators because they often function from neighbouring countries, and also because copies of a pirated clip gets circulated so rapidly that, by the time you erase one set of errant sites, several others have mushroomed," he added.
The ones who are most affected in this no-win situation are the actors, particularly female actors of such shows.
Actress whose have worked in ULLU shows include Gunjan Vijaya, Kajal Shankawar, and Neelu Kohli.
When IANS spoke to Kajal, she still seemed in a state of shock.
"This is on-screen molestation," Kajal describes the situation, adding: "I come from smalltown Etawah, and it didn't take me long to realise it would be near impossible for me to get films 'sab stars ke bachchon ke liye hain'. There's just the web for outsiders like me to showcase talent."
You do your job thinking you've done a great job, and then one day someone calls you to say they have spotted an intimate scene of yours on a porn site."
Putting an intimate scene as a standalone clip in a porn site throws it out of context, making it seem vulgar, she adds. "My folks back home wouldn't be able to understand such things. All they see is I am in a film on a wrong kind of a site. In some clips they have erased my voice and put in sounds of moaning with the action. This makes it seem even more cheap."
Many of the actresses who have been victims of the situation are in a state of depression, avers "D-Code" director Roshan Garry. The clips invariably go viral, without any mechanism to control web content.
"I am told there are over five million views on just one site alone. Some insignificant Instagram account posted it too even that site received over two million views. At a moderate calculation, my intimate scene has been viewed over 35 million times online illegally," says Kajal.
While director Garry has filed complaints with the Andheri police in Mumbai, the cyber cell, and also notified Mumbai Commissioner's office and the I&B Ministry, Kajal says she has lodged an FIR.
Given the inability of cyber cops as well as technicians of individual websites, the actress feels the only way out is to restrict what is shown on digital platforms.
"Limit sexual depiction on the net. Since this sort of content is being used wrongly and out of context, why don't we have a solid check? Let a panel of people who matter sit down together and chalk out a plan to restrict such content if we, as a nation, can't control its flow. I haven't signed a new project in 10 months fearing what I do in front of the camera will end up being used in a wrong way at a wrong site. I've literally quit my job as an actress for now," says Kajal.
Garry, on her part, feels such uncontrolled flow of content on the web will destroy the medium. "We can't have this going. It will finish the web space," she sums up.