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Major US Film Studios Court Victory Against Chinese Piracy
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A Beijing court has found a Chinese company and its retail shop guilty of violating the copyright of five US film companies.


The Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court on Monday ordered the Beijing Shiji Haihong Commerce and Trade Company and one of its retail shops to pay 164,000 yuan (US$20,500) in damages to five Hollywood studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures, Universal City Studios and Columbia Pictures.


The film studios teamed up to file 16 suits against the defendant for selling pirated DVDs of 16 movies including successes such as The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Mr and Mrs Smith and The Incredibles without copyright authorization, seeking over 500,000 yuan (US$62,500) in compensation.


The two defendants failed to appear at Monday's court hearing despite the summons, according to the court, and were thus tried in absentia.


The court ruled that the film studios hold the copyright of the 16 movies and are protected by Chinese law. The defendants both sold DVDs in direct infringement of copyright and without providing legal sources for the DVDs.


China agreed with the Motion Picture Association of America and pledged to increase anti-piracy efforts on the internet last Friday.


A Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Coordination Mechanism for Online Copyright Protection was signed by the National Copyright Administration of China (NCA) and the Motion Picture Association, Business Software Alliance, Association of American Publishers and Britain-based The Publishers Association.


According to the memo, all sides will strengthen and improve copyright authorization authenticity, and communicate on cracking down on transnational online piracy and copyright infringement on a regular basis.


The American and British sides will provide lists of their member companies to the NCA to ramp up protection on their movies, software, video and audio products and written works.


Last week, China also launched a new campaign against producers and warehouses of pirated movies, books, and software.


(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2006)

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