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Hong Kong Man Convicted of Online Movie Piracy

In Hong Kong, a man has been found guilty of illegally sharing movies on the Internet. The authorities there hope the landmark conviction will help curb online piracy.

Thirty-eight year old Chan Nai-ming was arrested in January for uploading Hollywood movies onto a website and sharing the films with others using a popular file-sharing program called BitTorrent.

Monday's verdict, the first in Hong Kong involving the BitTorrent software, is another victory for international film companies, who are desperately trying to curb piracy in Asia.

The Motion Picture Association, a group representing U.S. film companies, says its members lose $900 million in potential revenue annually in the region.

Last year, the Motion Picture Association in cooperation with Asian law enforcement agencies, seized more than 50 million pirated VCDs, DVDs and other counterfeit products. It says China, Hong Kong and Malaysia are the top markets for such goods.

John Tsang, Hong Kong's secretary for commerce, industry and technology welcomes Monday's verdict. Mr. Tsang says the conviction will have a strong deterrent effect on copyright infringement activities.

The U.S. government has also been working with law enforcement agencies in the region to reduce trade in pirated and counterfeit goods and to dismantle supply networks.

Chan will be sentenced on November 7 and could face a maximum four years in prison and a fine of around $6,000.