Police crack down on pirated videos

2021-02-04 12:03:55

[Photo/VCG] Fourteen people from influential video portal YYeTs, which offered over 20,000 overseas films and television series with Chinese subtitles, were detained recently for copyright infringement, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said on Wednesday. Three companies involved in the case have been investigated, with 20 mobile phones and 12 computers seized. The amount of money involved was over 16 million yuan ($2.48 million). The portal, established in 2003, recruited volunteers to create Chinese subtitles for a range of foreign movies and television shows, and enabled users to watch online and download for free on its website and mobile phone app. It had over 8 million registered members, police said. However, a three-month investigation by Shanghai police that ended last month found a group led by a man surnamed Liang had established a number of companies since 2018 to set up and rent computer servers in China and abroad, for the development, operation and maintenance of the website and app. Without authorization from the copyright owners, the group downloaded films from pirated-video platforms, then hired staff to translate and create video files with subtitles-paying about 400 yuan per video-before uploading them to the website. The group also made profits through charging website membership fees and advertising fees, as well as selling mobile hard drives containing pirated videos. YYeTs became popular among Chinese fans of foreign television series. However, video copyright issues plagued the portal for years as the country stepped up copyright protection. The website and app have been offline since Jan 4. In January, Shanghai police solved over 110 cases of copyright infringement and counterfeiting that cost around 160 international brands more than 400 million yuan. Police said consumers should not purchase, browse or download pirated products. In addition, the public should be more aware of copyright issues when publishing content on social media platforms.