Beijing-based Huayi Brothers Pictures is suing China's five major websites for spreading illegal copies ofthree film productions. The websitesinclude Sina.com, Sohu.com, Youku.com and UUSee.com. The first two are China's top two web portals.
The three Huayi Brothers productions are Feng Xiaogang's 2007 war drama Assembly, Cao Baoping's The Equation Of Love And Death, and Feng's recent romantic comedy If You Are The One, which is still on release in Chinese cinemas. The law suits are being reviewed by Beijing Haidian District People's Court.
Huayi Brothers requested the court to stop the five websites from carrying and spreading the illegal copies as well as a compensation of $16,105 (RMB110,000) from each website.
According to a Huayi executiveresponsible forinternet distribution rights, thecompensation is in line withprecedentsforonline copyright infringement.
The executive said it is not the first time Huayi had filed suits against Chinese websites, but it is the first time Huayi had sued five major sites at the sametime.
Internet distribution rights for Assembly have been sold to jeboo.com butHuayi itself retains online exploitation rightsfor the other two titles.
Huayi's lawsuit coincides with Chinese government agencies' joint action to crack down onpornography and vulgarity on the internet.
On Jan 5, China's General Administration of Press and Publication and Ministry of Public Security united five other government units to launch a campaign to eradicate 'inappropriate and illegal content' from Chinese websites.
On Jan 5, state-sponsored organisation China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center placed 19 websites on the warning list, including Sohu.com, Sina.com, Google China and Baidu.com.
Today, the centre announced another 14 sites as 'warned websites', including MSN China, Tom.com and Kong.net.