´╗┐Customs detects BitTorrent case

28 Apr 2009

Customs officers, with the help of the "Lineament Monitoring System"(LMS), has detected a case in which a BitTorrent (BT) peer-to-peer file-sharing programme was used for the distribution of suspected infringing films onto the Internet.

Last week, while officers of the Anti-Internet Piracy team monitored the infringement activities on the internet using the LMS, they detected a suspected infringing activity of uploading BT seed files of two suspected infringing films onto a local discussion forum and distributing the files via BT network.

With the support of the local internet service provider, Customs officers tracked down the location of the suspect and last night (April 27) arrested a 38-year-old man for contravening the Copyright Ordinance. In his residence, the officers seized a computer and related net-serving peripheral equipment worth about $10,000.

Customs implemented the LMS in March 2007 to monitor round-the-clock illegal file sharing activities, especially in local popular discussion forums. Since then, Customs has successfully detected two cases which involved uploading of BT files of infringing films.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, any person, without the licence of the copyright owner of a copyright work, distributes an infringing copy of the work (otherwise than for the purpose of or in the course of any trade or business which consists of dealing in infringing copies of copyright works) to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner commits a criminal offence. The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy and imprisonment for four years.

Hong Kong Customs appeals to members of public to respect intellectual property rights. Any person, who contravenes the Copyright Ordinance, has criminal liability and may be subject to civil claims from the copyright owners.

Anyone who comes across any suspected online piracy activities is encouraged to report to the Customs by calling the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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