China shuts down top video piracy Web site

Authorities shut down, one of the country's top sites offering pirated content, and other video Web sites during the 13th World Intellectual Property Day last week.

One of China's top movie download Web site,, has been shut down and the CEO and over 30 other employees detained by Chinese law enforcement authorities on suspicion of infringing intellectual property rights.

According to a Sina News report last Friday, has been operational for over 10 years and the total number of registered members of the site has reached more than 1.4 million. The Web site claims to be the country's top entertainment platform as it offers hundreds of thousands of high-definition Blu-ray movies, TV series, music tracks and games for download, it noted.

It generated revenue by charging members 50 yuan (US$8.10) a month to enjoy all the services and content on the site. Given its success, the founder of the Web site who goes by the surname of Zhou started brick-and-mortar shops selling Blu-ray players and pirated high-definition movies too, the report said.

However, law enforcement authorities decided to clamp down on the online business on World Intellectual Property Day, which is held every on April 26 every year. Officials said Zhou and seven other directors of the Web site were detained on the suspicion of infringing intellectual property rights, it stated.

Another 30 employees out of the total 139 employees, who were responsible for publishing content downloaded more than 50,000 times, could also be detained, the report added.

A separate report by last Friday said police had found more than 190 1-terabyte (TB) hard disks carrying over 10,000 movies and TV episodes in Zhou's residence.

Clampdown a symbolic gesture

According to another Sina News report last Saturday, was not the only video Web site to have been shut down. A number of other popular sites which generally offer free video and music streaming and download services has also been shut down.

These actions were considered to be temporal though, as some of them such as resumed service one day after the World Intellectual Property Day, the report noted.

It also pointed out that while copyright infringement remains an issue in China, the overall environment has been improving with large video Web sites such as Youku Tudou and Sohu TV spending large amounts of money to purchase film broadcast rights both domestically and abroad.