Customs appeals to youngsters not to commit Internet piracy offence

11 May 2006

Hong Kong Customs appeals to youngsters to respect intellectual property rights and not to commit piracy-related offences, particularly Internet piracy offence.

The Department reminds the public that distributing infringing copies of copyright works on the Internet is a serious offence.

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

The Anti-Internet Piracy Team (AIPT) of Hong Kong Customs yesterday (May 10) in Sau Mau Ping cracked a case in which pirated songs were provided for free downloading from a personal website.

During the operation mounted in a residential unit in Sau Mau Ping, Customs officers arrested a 16-year-old secondary student, who is now on bail pending further investigation.

They also seized from the premises a desktop computer with broadband Internet devices, worth about $7,700.

Acting on complaint from a copyright owner, Customs officers launched intensive investigation and mounted the operation yesterday.

Investigation showed that over 600 pirated songs and more than 20 films were available on a personal website for free downloading by Internet users. The personal computer had been converted into a server by means of "Dynamic IP Re-direction Service" provided by a US website.

Since the set up of the first AIPT in early 2000, Hong Kong Customs have so far cracked nine cases involving distribution of copyright works on the Internet. A total of $180,000 worth of goods were seized and 13 men were arrested.

Ends/Thursday, May 11, 2006

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