Warner Bros and five other US movie giants have successfully sued the owners of a Beijing DVD shop that was selling counterfeit copies of their movies.
The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ordered the Beijing Cherry Blossom Star Culture Company and its affiliated DVD shop to pay 195,000 yuan (about US$24,400) to the U.S. movie distributors. They had asked for 2.46 million yuan (about US$307,500) in damages.
Warner Bros, Columbia Pictures, Universal City Studios, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney sent their agents to purchase pirated copies of movies in the shop in 2005. They were able to buy pirated DVDs of 13 of their movies from the Lihua Zhisheng store including "Before Sunset", "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", and "IRobot".
Lawyers for the American companies determined the shop was owned by Cherry Blossom Star Culture Company, which they say infringed their copyright by reproducing the movies without permission.
The U.S. companies asked for 2.46 million yuan (about 307,500 US dollars) in compensation and a public apology and a order restraining the shop from selling pirated DVDs.
The Beijing company argued that it was not directly involved in selling the pirated DVDs, but admitted it was affiliated with the Lihua Zhisheng DVD shop, which has already stopped selling pirated DVDs. The Cherry Blossom Star said it was willing to make a public apology, but argued it had no means to pay nearly three million yuan in compensation.
The court ordered the DVD shop to stop selling pirated DVDs, and to pay 15,000 yuan in compensation for each of the 13 pirated movies. The court did not order the company to apologize.
(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2007)