Court rules pirates to be ID’d

ISPs forced to disclose downloaders' personal info

HONG KONG — Three Hong Kong producers won a court order Tuesday to force Internet service providers to hand over personal details of 49 people who allegedly downloaded movies using BitTorrent technology.

ISPs are required to hand over names, Hong Kong identity card numbers, postal and billing addresses of the accused copyright infringers to three local film companies: 100 Years of Film, Hero China Intl. and Applause Pictures.

“The Film Industry Response Group hired computer specialists to monitor the Internet and track who is doing what,” said Woody Tsung, chief exec of Hong Kong’s Motion Picture Industry Assn.

The 49 are accused of downloading three local pics: boffo Jet Li actioner “Fearless,” comedy “Shopaholics” and animation “McDull the Alumni.”

The ISPs — Hutchison Global Communications, Hong Kong Cable, PCCW IMS and i-Cable Communications — have 21 days to comply with the court order.

The FIRG will meet Wednesday to discuss how to move forward, including assessing how much damage to claim, Tsung said.

While industry insiders see move as necessary to deter copyright infringement, Tsung said civil cases are very expensive and are not a long-term solution.

“Fearless” grossed HK$30 million ($3.8 million) at the Hong Kong B.O., while “Shopaholics” racked up $1.3 million and “Alumni” $1.4 million, according to the MPIA.

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