Studios win Australian piracy victory

In what is believed to be the first copyright case heard by a jury in Australia, a Sydney store owner is convicted of 15 offenses.

Australian film and music studios have claimed a victory in their war against copyright offenses, with a Sydney man convicted for selling pirated content last week.

Yong Hong Lin, owner of a music and movie store in Eastwood, Sydney, was found guilty of 15 copyright offenses in Sydney's District Court last week, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) announced in a statement distributed Monday. Lin is scheduled to be sentenced on August 21.

piracy graphic

The jury acquitted Lin of 16 of the 31 offenses he was initially charged with.

Police had raided Lin's facility on February 27, the copyright organizations said, finding more than 16,000 pirated music and movie discs offered for sale. Some were allegedly imported from China, and some burned locally.

AFACT and MIPI said the charges were the "first copyright matters to proceed on indictment and be heard before a jury" in Australia. "Mr Lin has been judged by 12 of his fellow Australians and they have found his conduct to be criminal; now he must accept the consequences," said MIPI investigations manager Dean Mitchell.

Neil Gane, AFACT director of operations, said pirates should be in "no doubt" that what he called their criminal actions would be thoroughly investigated, shut down by police, and judged in court.

The copyright duo said criminal penalties for copyright infringement were up to $60,500 and five years imprisonment per offense for individuals, and up to $302,500 for corporations.

Renai LeMai of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

 

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