Mumbai: The Motion Picture Association (MPA) acknowledged Beijing’s first known conviction of a retailer of pirated movies. Forty-year-old Zhou Cheng was arrested on 15 December 2007 selling pirated DVDs in a shop in the Chaoyang district of Beijing.
The raid, conducted by the Public Security Bureau, resulted in the seizure of 10,934 DVDs, 849 of which were infringing MPA member companies, including American Gangster, Transformers and Spiderman 3. The remaining discs were classified as illegal publications.
On 25 April Zhou was convicted in the Chaoyang District People’s Court under Article 217 of the Criminal Law, distributing movies and other copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owners, and sentenced to one year imprisonment and fined 10,000 yuan ($1,431).
"The MPA has been lobbying long and hard for increased criminal prosecutions of pirate retailers" said MPA president and managing director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis. "Well-publicized criminal convictions with deterrent custodial sentences are an essential element of any strategy to discourage piracy and protect the creative industries."
"While welcoming the result and acknowledging the great effort that went into this case, it will be meaningless unless authorities throughout China follow through with many more similar cases."