Taiwan’s property court upholds Foxy conviction

MUMBAI:  Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Court upheld the lower court’s finding of copyright infringement against the local file-sharing website Foxy on 22 November.  

The Intellectual Property Court sentenced Ming-Hsien Lee, the owner of Foxy to 18 months jail, suspended for five years. The court also imposed a substantial fine against the defendant company of TWD 750,000 (approximately USD 24,000).

The case was the result of two separate raids against Foxy in 2007 and 2008 by Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Rights Police coordinated by Taiwan Foundation Against Copyright Theft (TFACT), which represents the Motion Picture Association (MPA) members’ interests at Taiwan.

Once one of the most popular pirate websites in Taiwan, Foxy resides in users’ computers and enables users to share illegal movie and music files for free. Similar to the Winny software in Japan, Foxy can cause problems with information being retrieved inadvertently from users’ hard drives. Following an embarrassing incident last year when confidential information was leaked by public servants using the website to download movie or music, the Government prohibited the installation of Foxy software on office computers. A similar ban was announced by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, which prohibited faculty and students from using the software on its academic network, TANet. The site has been down since earlier this year.

“The sentence meted out to Foxy’s owner confirms that Taiwan takes the threat of online theft seriously and will not tolerate such infringements,” said Motion Picture Association (MPA) president and managing director Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis. “Authorities around the region are acting decisively against sites such as Winny and Foxy because they not only compromise user security but deal in infringing content. We hope to hear of more such sentences to deter criminals from using the Internet as a medium and channel for their illegal pursuits.”