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Taiwan takes down top piracy site

During a pandemic when lots of people are staying home.

One of Taiwan's top movie and TV download sites, 8maple.ru, has been shut down and the assets of two engineers have been frozen on suspicion of infringing intellectual property rights.

According to a statement from Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), the site's traffic ranks first among all piracy websites in Taiwan. Movies and TV shows were said to come from Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, Europe, mainland China, Taiwan, and elsewhere.

The site generated revenue from click-throughs on advertisements. According to the CIB, two engineers, surnamed Chen and Zhuang, allegedly created a fake advertising company, used their professional knowledge to decode video, illegally placed videos on overseas cloud servers, and gained revenue by requiring site visitors to click on ads before watching.

The alleged intellectual property infringements are valued at close to NT$1 billion, about $33 million.

The investigation was carried out in cooperation with the US Motion Picture Assocation and Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment.

CIB said the case has since been referred to the Taoyuan District Prosecutor's Office for further investigation.

A December 2019 Asia Video Industry Assocation's Coalition Against Piracy survey on the online content viewing behavior of 1033 Taiwanese consumers found that 33% had visited streaming piracy or torrent sites before.

It also found that 47% of 18 to 24-year olds and 61% of 25 to 34-year olds used illicit streaming devices or other apps and services to view pirated content.

The Taiwan Film Institute in Taipei, which receives financial support from Taiwan's government, told ZDNet in a statement that a balance between information sharing and intellectual property rights is important. It added that efforts to balance these two things require wisdom and careful thinking.

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