Two arrested as Hong Kong topsite is closed down by customs officials
Customs officers in Hong Kong have raided and shut down a 'topsite' that was used to distribute copyright infringing music, film and games online. Two men were arrested in the operation carried out on 9th June.
'Topsites' are high-speed computer servers used by 'release groups' to upload copyright infringing content over the internet, often leaking music tracks and films before they are made available online through legitimate services. Investigations revealed that the Hong Kong-based 'topsite', the first to be shut down in Asia, was used internationally by uploaders from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.
The raids followed a criminal complaint made by IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, and other rights holders. IFPI's Internet Anti-Piracy Unit had investigated the 'topsite' and provided evidence that it had been used to illegally distribute worldwide more than 800GB of files containing copyright infringing music, film and games.
Both men arrested have been bailed pending further enquiries. Under Hong Kong's copyright law, the illegal distribution of infringing material in bulk is a criminal offence that carries a potential sentence of four years in prison and a fine of HK$50,000 per infringing copy.
Officers seized four servers containing large amounts of copyright infringing music, films and games. The equipment seized at the raids in the districts of Chai Wan and Kowloon Bay was estimated to be worth HK$34,000.
Jeremy Banks, head of IFPI's Internet Anti-Piracy Unit, says: "This action underlines the global reach of our investigations into online copyright infringement. Operators of topsites should be warned that we can trace their illegal activities and that we will work with law enforcement agencies worldwide to ensure that they stop infringing our members' rights in such a serious and damaging way."
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