BEIJING — A Beijing court has found two DVD retailers guilty of repeat copyright infringement and ordered them to pay compensation to the Motion Picture Assn., based on tips from the org.
On Aug. 23 and 24, the Beijing Xicheng District People’s Court ordered Beijing Yongsheng Century and its Century En Ze branch to pay six plaintiffs — all MPA member companies — damages and costs of yuan 210,314 ($27,795).
Over the past two years, the MPA has on 17 occasions provided information about the sale of pirated movies at Beijing Yongsheng Century to local law enforcement authorities including the Copyright Bureau, the Culture Task Force and the Chaoyang Police, org said in a statement.
During that time, the authorities have raided the defendant’s premises six times, and seized more than 16,000 pirated optical discs. On one occasion Beijing Yongsheng Century was fined $3,965, but criminal charges were never filed.
“The rulings against one of Beijing’s most notorious pirate retail outlets demonstrate that Chinese courts continue to be supportive of copyright holders’ efforts to vigorously defend their property,” said Frank Rittman, VP and regional counsel, Asia-Pacific for the MPA.
“However, the MPA and our member companies continue to feel that the court’s award represents little more than a slap on the wrist in the context of the scope of pirate activity in which Beijing Yongsheng Century and others were and are engaged. That pirated discs were available at this outlet only a few days ago underscores the contempt these criminals have for the law,” Rittman said.
The MPA reckons China’s movie piracy rate is 93% and one of the main reasons for this is the lack of market access for foreign films.
“The theatrical exhibition quota and the restrictions on home video distributors, give movie pirates a tremendous advantage,” Rittman said. “Market access, is a prerequisite for reducing piracy and piracy affects foreign and domestic movie producers alike.”
The MPA has concluded more than 40 civil actions in China, all of which have been settled or judged in favor of the MPA member company plaintiffs. MPA studios lost $6.1 billion to worldwide piracy in 2005, and around $1.2 billion came from piracy across the Asia-Pacific region, while piracy in the U.S. accounted for $1.3 billion.
Last year, the MPA probed more than 30,000 cases of piracy and assisted law enforcement officials in conducting nearly 12,400 raids in the Asia-Pacific. This resulted in the seizure of more than 35 million illegal optical discs, 50 factory optical disc production lines and 4,482 optical disc burners, as well as the initiation of more than 11,000 legal actions.