Man sentenced to eight months' jail for infringing Copyright Ordinance

8 Apr 2006

A 29-year-old man was sentenced to eight months' jail by the magistrate of the Eastern Magistrates' Courts on April 6 for infringing the Copyright Ordinance.

He was convicted of two counts of "selling infringing copies of copyright works for the purpose of or in the course of, any trade or business without the licences of the copyright owners" and one count of "possession for the purpose of or in the course of, any trade or business of infringing copies of copyright works with a view to committing any act infringing the copyright without the licences of the copyright owners".

A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department said today (April 8) that the sentence was so far the heaviest passed on cases involving piracy activities in relation to auction sites.

He warned that under the Copyright Ordinance, anyone who is found in possession of any infringing article for commercial purpose is liable to prosecution. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 per infringing article and four-year imprisonment.

The court heard that in an operation on June 16, 2005, officers of the Anti-Internet Piracy Team (AIPT) arrested a 28-year-old man at the North Point MTR Station after he had handed over a batch of pirated disks to a Customs officer disguised as a customer. Later on, Customs officers seized from an apartment in Chai Wan a set of computer and over 12,000 pirated disks of Japanese animation films and cartoons, including a cartoon film on show on TV then.

The spokesman said the case involved the largest quantity of pirated disks on sale via Internet auction site seized by Hong Kong Customs.

Since the set up of the first AIPT in the year 2000, Customs officers have so far cracked 57 cases, including cases relating to the distribution of copyright work via websites, sale of pirated or counterfeit goods via websites or auction sites, and distribution of copyright work by peer-to-peer file sharing software, resulting in the seizure of over 94,000 pirated disks and 3,600 pieces of counterfeit goods, worth over $4 million, and the arrest of 67 men and 25 women.

Members of the public are urged to report any suspected Internet piracy activities by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Saturday, April 8, 2006

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