Online Movie Pirate Gets 3 Months in Jail

A Hong Kong court sentenced a local man to three months in jail on Monday for trying to illegally distribute movies using BitTorrent software.

Chan Nai-ming was convicted last month for trying to distribute three Hollywood blockbusters -- Daredevil, Red Planet and Miss Congeniality -- on the Internet without licences. He pleaded not guilty.

"He was sentenced to three months for each count but they will run concurrently," a court clerk said. Chan filed an appeal and was freed on HK$5,000 (US$645) bail.

It is believed to be the world's first intellectual piracy case involving the file-sharing technology.

BitTorrent, created by programer Bram Cohen, distributes large files quickly by breaking them into many pieces, sharing the pieces among a large number of users, and reassembling them upon delivery.

It is widely used to trade copyrighted materials like movies and television shows. It also has many non-infringing uses.

The Hong Kong government has said the case was the first successful enforcement action against peer-to-peer file sharing. The maximum penalty is four years' jail and a hefty fine.


Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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