Hollywood studios sue China Web site, cafe over piracy

A lawsuit brought by Hollywood studios against Chinese online video provider Jeboo.com and a Shanghai Internet cafe could soon be heard in court

Major Hollywood studios fighting pirates over "Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest" and other films illegally made available for download could soon have their day in court.

A lawsuit filed on September 28 will be heard in Shanghai's No. 2. Intermediate Court on November 29, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

The suit pits Twentieth Century Fox International, Walt Disney International, Universal International, Paramount Pictures and Sony's Columbia Pictures against a Beijing-based online film and television content provider, Jeboo.com, and a Shanghai Internet cafe, said Frank Rittman, Asia-Pacific regional legal counsel of the Motion Picture Association International (MPA), which is coordinating the litigation in China.

A police inspection found Shanghai East Cyber Cafe to be facilitating unlicensed viewing of 13 MPA member films via Jeboo, including "Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest," "Click," and "Hitch," according to the MPA. The MPA did not say when the inspection took place.

"Internet cafes are a pretty significant source of piracy in China," said Rittman, citing a June 2006 report by China-based research firm CCIDNet, affiliated with the Ministry of Information Industry. The report said that Internet cafes are the primary point of connection for 29.5 percent of Chinese Internet users, and that 76 percent of those users watch movies at the cafes.

One way that Chinese Internet users can watch movies is using Jeboo's entertainment bar, a software application, Rittman said. "Jeboo is a fairly big player. What they do is provide the entertainment bar to their customers. They're a pretty significant player, and cafes are a significant source of piracy," he said.

The five studios bringing the suit are seeking 3.2 million yuan (AU$492,593) in damages and legal costs, Rittman said, and are seeking to send the message that Internet cafes and content providers "risk litigation if they engage in piracy."

A Jeboo.com representative did not return a telephone call requesting comment on the suit. The Internet cafe could not be reached for comment.

The MPA estimates that major Hollywood studios lost US$2.7 billion in 2005 in sales they would have generated via the box office, home video, and elsewhere if pirated products were not available.

However, a recent paper questioned the MPA's figures, and said that the MPA is pointing the finger at foreign countries, specifically developing nations, for piracy. The U.K., Spain, France, Mexico, and the U.S. are the greatest per-capita culprits for piracy in terms of lost revenue, according to that report.

Some Chinese film fans downloading unauthorized copies of the Ang Lee film "Lust, Caution" this week received a bit of retribution: malware. A Beijing-based antivirus company estimated 15 percent of available online copies of the film were giving users either viruses along with the film, or Trojan horses loaded with dozens of viruses.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steven Schwankert

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?