MPA complaint lands China couple selling pirated films in jail

MUMBAI: China couple, Huang Yangsheng and his wife, owners and operators of an illegal website selling pirated movies were sentenced by Beijing Tongzhou People’s Court to 14 months in prison and were also asked to pay a fine of RMB80,000. The arrest followed an extensive criminal investigation started by a MPA complaint of copyright infringement to the government and subsequent support in evidence collection, which proved crucial in the case’s success.

The conviction is the most recent of several high-profile cases the MPA has brought against copyright infringers operating on mainland China, and represents a significant milestone in the MPA’s ongoing efforts to urge local authorities to prosecute copyright offenders. The arrest followed an extensive criminal investigation started by a MPA complaint of copyright infringement to the government and subsequent support in evidence collection, which proved crucial in the case’s success.

According to court documents, Yangsheng and his wife ran an illegal website that sold approximately 6,000 bootlegged DVDs, including Hollywood movies, to overseas clients from 2006 to 2008. The couple netted more than RMB100,000 before being arrested in December 2008.

“The court sentence is a significant victory for copyright holders. The imprisonment of these criminals sends a strong deterring message to online infringers in China,” said MPA president and managing director Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis. “With the rapid development of China’s Internet and e-commerce, and the purchase of digital media becoming a way of life for many young people, we hope that government can take a tougher stand to protect video content from being ripped off for illegal profit through the Internet.”

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