Chinese restaurant director sentenced for contravening Copyright Ordinance

1 Jun 2006

A Chinese restaurant in Tai Po and a 60-year-old male director were fined $20,000 and $10,000 respectively by the Fanling Magistrates' Courts today (June 1) for contravening the Copyright Ordinance.

On November 3, 2005, Customs officers raided a Chinese restaurant in which they seized three sets of servers installed with karaoke video files, 18 sets of computer and a batch of audio visual equipment, totally worth about $300,000.

Subsequently, the company and a director were each charged with 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 licence of the copyright owner.

A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department today (June 1) reminded operators of karaokes, bars and restaurants to refrain from possessing infringing copies of copyright works in the course of business without the licence of the copyright owner, or they will be prosecuted.

"Since the amended Copyright Ordinance came into effect on April 1, 2001, Customs officers have cracked 37 corporate piracy cases, including the present one, regarding the use of pirated audio-visual copyright works in the course of business.

"This is the first time that a Chinese restaurant was found to be involved in corporate piracy. All previous cases involved karaokes and bars," he said.

Hong Kong Customs will continue taking stringent enforcement actions against piracy, he added.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, the maximum penalty for the offence is $50,000 per infringing copy and four years' imprisonment.

He appeals to the public to report any suspected corporate piracy cases to Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, June 1, 2006

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