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Six U.S. movie distributors win lawsuit against Beijing DVD seller
Latest Updated by 2007-04-26 11:07:36
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Warner Bros and five other U.S. 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 24,400 U.S. dollars) to the U.S. movie distributors. They had asked for 2.46 million yuan (about 307,500 dollars) 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 "I Robot".

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 dollars) in compensation and a public apology and an 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 pay 15,000 yuan in compensation for each of the 13 pirated movies. The court did not order the company to apologize.

The ruling came after China kicked off a weeklong campaign to promote intellectual property protection.

Earlier this month, the United States filed two complaints to the WTO against China over copyright infringements and restrictions on the sale of U.S. books, music, videos and movies.

Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi warned on Tuesday that the move would hurt trade ties between the two countries, saying it ran counter to the consensus once reached by the leaders of the two countries to advocate dialogue as the way to settle disputes.

She said IPR protection was a universal issue, and the Chinese government would respond actively to the U.S. complaints according to relevant WTO rules. "We will not cower away," she said.

Last year, China confiscated more than 73 million pirated products, including 18 million pirated books, 1.1 million periodicals, 48 million audio-visual products, 2.01 million electronic publications and 3.79 million software discs.

Last week, China's Supreme Court issued a new rule, stipulating anyone who manufactures 500 or more counterfeit copies (discs) of computer software, music, movies, TV shows and other audio-video products can be prosecuted and face a prison term of up to three years.

The new regulations replace the 2004 rules, which only applied to those who produced 1,000 pirated discs.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:China View website
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