A Hong Kong court has convicted a 38-year-old man for uploading films to theinternet using BitTorrent (BT) technology, in a case that is regarded locallyas the world's first criminal conviction of a BT user.

Chan Nai-ming, who used thealias "Big Crook", was convicted by a Hong Kong magistrateof three charges of attempting to distribute three Hollywood films - Daredevil, Miss Congeniality and Red Planet - using BT file-sharingtechnology.

Sentencing was adjourned toNovember 7 and Chan released on bail but the magistrate did not rule outimprisonment. Under Hong Kong's Copyright Ordinance, anyone found distributingillegal copies of works to the extent that the copyright owner suffersprejudicially, faces a four-year jail term and a fine of up to $6,400 (HK$50,000)per infringing copy.

The magistrate rejected thedefence lawyer's argument that Chan only "made available" copies of the filmand couldn't be accused of distribution.

"The defendant loaded thefiles into his computer, he created the torrent files, created the images ofthe inlay cards and imprinted them with his logo'.he published the existence ofthe files and the names of the films in question, on the news group," themagistrate said. "His acts were an essential part of the downloading processand'.amounted to distribution."

Last month, a Taiwan court convicted local internet file-sharing serviceKuro of copyright violation. The company was fined $90,000 and the two brothersoperating the service were sentenced to three years each in prison while theirfather and Kuro president got two years.