It was learned from Shenzhen Municipal Procuratorate on December 30 that recently, a case involving copyright infringement of foreign film works prosecuted by the Nanshan District Procuratorate of Shenzhen was sentenced in the first instance. It was a typical case of using the online video-on-demand APP for Internet piracy and criminal copyright infringement. It is also the first criminal case of copyright infringement involving foreign film works in Shenzhen.
It was understood that the defendant’s Shenzhen Cultural Media Co., Ltd. developed a video playback APP. The defendants Zhang and Li are responsible for the company’s daily operation and management. The defendants Liu and Ma are the company’s content production department directors and managed the Movie Library.
After the APP was launched, a large number of domestic and foreign films were downloaded and edited by personnel from the organization department of Liu and Ma. They provided the films to users through the APP for viewing without the permission of the copyright owner. VIP users who have paid the fee can watch without advertisement and download unauthorized movies to personal devices without authorization.
From May 2018 to January 10, 2020 until it was seized by the Public Security Bureau, the APP made a profit of approximately RMB 1.4 million from unauthorized foreign films.
After the trial of the first instance by the Court, the defendant unit, a Shenzhen Cultural Media Co., Ltd., and the defendants Zhang, Li, Liu, and Ma, used for profit and disseminated other people’s film works to the public through the Internet without the permission of the copyright owner. The circumstances were particularly serious, and the behavior has violated Article 217 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China and constituted a crime of copyright infringement. The defendant unit was sentenced to a fine of RMB 400,000, and the four defendants were sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment ranging from one to three years and fined.
It is reported that this case is a new type of case involving infringement of intellectual property rights through the Internet, involving a large number of difficult and complex issues. Nanshan District Procuratorate gave full play to the role of the convergence mechanism of the two intellectual property laws, intervened in advance, guided the investigation and collection of evidence, and combined the characteristics of the involved APP to target the source, circulation, preservation method, division of labor and profitability of the criminal suspects, appraisal opinions and other aspects listed more than ten investigation suggestions, which provided directions for investigation work. It took only about three months for the Investigation Agency to file the case to Nanshan District Procuratorate initiate a public prosecution. All of the defendants pleaded guilty and punished.