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MPA COMPLAINT LEADS TO JAIL FOR CHINA COUPLE SELLING PIRATED HOLLYWOOD MOVIES OVERSEAS

Significant Victory Shuts Down Web Site and Operations That Sold Thousands of Bootleg DVDs Online

  • 8Dec 2009

Hong Kong / Beijing – After more than two years support for government investigation and aggressive pursuit from the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the owners and operators of a notorious illegal website selling pirated movies were sentenced by Beijing Tongzhou People’s Court to 14 months in prison and to pay a fine of RMB80,000. 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.

According to court documents, Huang 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 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 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 Mike Ellis, President and Managing Director, Asia-Pacific for the MPA. “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.”

China’s online population now ranks No. 1 in the world. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, by June 30 2009, the country’s Internet population reached 338 million, representing a 13.5% increase from 2008. The 2009 “China Online Shopping Market Development Report,” from iResearch, a China-based market research firm, says the China e-commerce market reached RMB103.5 billion during the first half of 2009. This amount was RMB53.1 billion, or 94.8 percent, higher than the same period in 2008 – a 37.8% increase over the second half of 2008.

“There is an explosion of e-commerce in China as more and more people are now accustomed to buying things online,” said Ellis. “Because online shopping can easily spill over to other countries, the piracy of hard goods in China is becoming a serious issue of focus for MPA member companies.”

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About the MPA: Promoting & Protecting Screen Communities in Asia Pacific

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Motion Picture Association International (MPA-I) represent the interests of the six international producers and distributors of filmed entertainment. To do so, they promote and protect the intellectual property rights of these companies and conduct public awareness programs to highlight to movie fans around the world the importance of content protection. These activities have helped to transform entire markets benefiting film and television industries in each country including foreign and local filmmakers alike.

The organizations act on behalf of the members of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc (MPAA) which include; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. The MPA and the MPA-I have worldwide operations which are directed from their head offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. and overseen in the Asia Pacific by a team based in Singapore. For more information about the MPA, please visit www.mpa-i.org.