Hong Kong internet cafe shut down for providing pirated movies

Mumbai: On October 28, the Anti-Internet Piracy Team (AIPT) of Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department’s Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau (IPIB), raided and shut down an Internet café providing access to pirated movies and music on payment. This is the first ever piracy case involving an Internet café in Hong Kong.

Customs officers arrested a man who is the director of the company and two women aged between 23 and 35 years, and seized 93 computers and seven servers with an estimated value of HK$531,700 (US$68,167). Some 6,700 files containing pirated movies, music and TV drama titles were found on the seized servers for showing to the internet café’s customers.  

Customs officers were supported in the raid by staff from IFACT-GC, representing the Motion Picture Association and the CJ Mark Committee (a Japanese rights owners association) in Hong Kong. IFACT-GC staff examined seized computer files, confirming that they infringed copyright.  

The café charged customers HK$10 (US$1.29) per hour for access to pirated movie, music and TV drama titles through the cafe’s intranet.  MPA member company titles found on the servers included 10,000 B.C., Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Spider-Man 3. Infringing titles belonging to CJ Mark Committee members were also found, including Keroro Gunso, Howl’s Moving Castle and Naruto.

"The law prohibits the possession or use of infringing copyright work for the purpose of or in the course of business or trade," IPIB bureau head Ben Ho emphasized. "Hong Kong Customs will continue to work closely with the copyright industry to tackle any form of such copyright offences. Criminal charges will be laid against those who contravene the Copyright Ordinance."

"The proprietors of local internet cafés should take precautionary measures to ensure they are not breaking the law," IFACT-GC executive director and general manager Sam Ho said. "This is the first such raid on an internet café in Hong Kong. It won’t be the last."

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