‘Big Crook’ loses case appeal

Chan starts three-month jail sentence

HONG KONG — The first person in the world to be charged with a crime for distributing movies on peer-to-peer platform BitTorrent lost his appeal Tuesday.

Chan Nai-ming, whose screen name was “Big Crook,” started his three-month jail sentence after the hearing.

The ruling was significant because it clarified under copyright laws here that films can be distributed via BitTorrent.

The defense argued that Chan’s computer — the seeder computer from which files were downloaded — was passive. Therefore, the charge of “attempting to distribute” couldn’t apply, the defense said, because movie files were simply made available.

The act of distributing should fall on the downloading computers, according to the defense.

Chan, 38, was arrested in January 2005 after customs officers found that someone had uploaded “Daredevil,” “Red Planet” and “Miss Congeniality” to a local BitTorrent, or BT, discussion forum.