China Focused On Piracy In Internet Cafes

    April 25, 2008

Beijing courts are pledging higher fines for Internet cafes that allow users to violate copyright laws by illegally downloading movies.

The Beijing High People’s Court promised harsher penalties would be introduced after three local courts heard cases involving Internet cafes and copyright infringement. In one case, Chinese producer Huayi Brothers, won its lawsuit against three Internet cafes.

The Xicheng District People’s Court ruled the cafes had infringed Huayi’s right to online dissemination of information. The cafes were ordered to remove infringing material from their online services and pay 6,000-8,000 yuan ($860 to $1,145) in compensation to Huayi.

In a similar case a court ordered a cafe to pay the maximum fine of $3,300 for allowing access to a pirated film. Internet cafes are the second most common way to access the Internet; China has around 113,000 licensed cafes and many others that operate illegally.

Some Internet cafes allow users to download films without authorization, while others sign bogus movie service agreements with suppliers who claim to have copyright authorization.

China now has the most Internet users in the world with 221 million, the Ministry of Industry and Information said.