Man given jail sentence by District Court for Internet copyright infringement

12 Oct 2011

A 32-year-old man was today (October 12) sentenced to ten months in prison by the District Court, following his earlier conviction on three charges of making and selling pirated movie discs through his own Internet website. It was the first Internet copyright infringement conviction by the District Court.

Acting on a complaint about an Internet website selling suspected pirated movie discs, Customs officers carried out an investigation which revealed that some recent movie titles were being displayed on a website run by the defendant and the pirated discs were being sold at $8 to $8.5 each. The investigation also found that the man produced the pirated discs at his residence and delivered them to his customers in public places.

The man was arrested by Customs officers on May 28, 2010 after a Customs officer from the Anti-Internet Piracy Team posing as a customer purchased three pirated optical discs from him. In the operation, a total of 169 pirated discs, a computer and a number of external hard drives were seized from the defendant's residence in Ngau Chi Wan. Follow-up analysis by the Customs Forensic Laboratory revealed that more than 200 infringing movie files were kept in the seized computer and on hard drives.

Members of the public are reminded that any type of infringing activities conducted on the Internet is a serious offence under the Copyright Ordinance. Any person who sells or lets for hire or distributes an infringing copy to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner will be prosecuted. On top of a criminal conviction record, the maximum punishment is an imprisonment term of four years and a fine of $50,000 for each infringing copy. With regard to the possession of articles used to make infringing copies, offenders will face imprisonment of up to eight years and a fine of $500,000.

Anyone who encounters any infringing activities can report to Customs by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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