Tuesday, 04 April 2006

An announcement of the 1st wave and 2nd wave of legal action against on-line infringers

A letter before action was sent to each and every targeted subscriber in late February with a view to providing him/her the earliest opportunity to settle the matter rather than by way of costly litigation. We are pleased to note that 15 target subscribers have chosen to settle the matter. The amount of compensation varies in each case depending on the number of infringing musical sound recordings involved with the average compensation closed to the international norm. We only commence legal action against those who do not respect copyright or do not take or consider copyright infringement a serious matter. We have commenced 4 legal actions against on-line copyright infringers as of today. The first case has been settled and just this morning the parties have also reached settlement on the second case. As for other two Defendants who do not choose to have the matter settled out of court, we shall continue the legal action seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs. We are however somewhat surprised to learn from all the settled cases that the infringers are actually the children of the target subscribers with the ages range from 12 to 19 years old and all of them are still attending schools. All of the parents had not been aware of their children illegal activities until they actually received the letter before action from our solicitors. Although many of these families were aware of the publicity generated by us that legal actions against illegal uploads and downloads would be conducted and the children knew that it is not right to upload or download the musical sound recordings, yet they chose to do take chance because of peers’ pressure. Therefore we hereby urge the parents do check with their children if they have been using the computer properly for their school and leisure activities. In this connection, we would like to inform the public that there are useful tools available from the IFPI website www.ifpi.org including a Parental Guide. Furthermore a free software called “Digital File Check” to assist checking and cleaning up illegal music files in the computer is also available for download at that site. No doubt, Parents do have important role to play to stop illegal file sharing. We are extremely pleased that the Intellectual Property Department of the HKSAR Government finds the Parental Guide suit the value statement of the department and it has chosen to support the translation and circulation of the Chinese version in Hong Kong. The Director of Intellectual Property, Mr. Stephen Selby will be personally present to show support. The Chinese version will be made available online for public access and in printed form by 1st of May, 2006 from IFPI Hong Kong Group www.ifpihk.org and the Intellectual Property Department.
The settled cases also reveal that most of the uploaders learnt the upload and download from his/her classmates. This finding has suggested that schools have a key role to play to show and teach their students to respect intellectual property rights. We have commenced our second wave of legal action against on-line infringers, so far we have obtained evidence against 50 targeted on-line infringers and we will continue this exercise from time to time. We will immediately seek disclosure of the identity of an infringer from the relevant ISPs and commence legal proceedings based on the relevant evidence obtained by us against him without further delay. The objective of the second phase is to achieve deterrence against on-line piracy. Serious case may be referred to the Customs and Excise Department for criminal investigation without any further notice. We are committed and determined to fight against on-line piracy. This press release is made simultaneously with the worldwide announcement of legal actions by 18 countries/territories against p2p illegal file sharing on the internet by IFPI in London today. The new country which joins this wave of action is Portugal IFPI (Hong Kong Group) Ltd Dated: 4th April, 2006

We, the IFPI Hong Kong Group is pleased to announce that we have achieved the key objective of the first wave of our fight against on-line piracy, namely, to raise public awareness of the illegality of any unauthorised uploading and downloading of musical sound recordings in Hong Kong to the next level through civil litigation against the on-line copyright infringers. In the first wave, we have successfully obtained a disclosure court order from the High Court against the 4 ISPs on 26th January this year. 18 identities of the targeted subscribers have been identified and disclosed to the Plaintiffs Record Companies in February.

A letter before action was sent to each and every targeted subscriber in late February with a view to providing him/her the earliest opportunity to settle the matter rather than by way of costly litigation. We are pleased to note that 15 target subscribers have chosen to settle the matter. The amount of compensation varies in each case depending on the number of infringing musical sound recordings involved with the average compensation closed to the international norm. We only commence legal action against those who do not respect copyright or do not take or consider copyright infringement a serious matter. We have commenced 4 legal actions against on-line copyright infringers as of today. The first case has been settled and just this morning the parties have also reached settlement on the second case. As for other two Defendants who do not choose to have the matter settled out of court, we shall continue the legal action seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs. We are however somewhat surprised to learn from all the settled cases that the infringers are actually the children of the target subscribers with the ages range from 12 to 19 years old and all of them are still attending schools. All of the parents had not been aware of their children illegal activities until they actually received the letter before action from our solicitors. Although many of these families were aware of the publicity generated by us that legal actions against illegal uploads and downloads would be conducted and the children knew that it is not right to upload or download the musical sound recordings, yet they chose to do take chance because of peers’ pressure. Therefore we hereby urge the parents do check with their children if they have been using the computer properly for their school and leisure activities. In this connection, we would like to inform the public that there are useful tools available from the IFPI website www.ifpi.org including a Parental Guide. Furthermore a free software called “Digital File Check” to assist checking and cleaning up illegal music files in the computer is also available for download at that site. No doubt, Parents do have important role to play to stop illegal file sharing. We are extremely pleased that the Intellectual Property Department of the HKSAR Government finds the Parental Guide suit the value statement of the department and it has chosen to support the translation and circulation of the Chinese version in Hong Kong. The Director of Intellectual Property, Mr. Stephen Selby will be personally present to show support. The Chinese version will be made available online for public access and in printed form by 1st of May, 2006 from IFPI Hong Kong Group www.ifpihk.org and the Intellectual Property Department.

The settled cases also reveal that most of the uploaders learnt the upload and download from his/her classmates. This finding has suggested that schools have a key role to play to show and teach their students to respect intellectual property rights. We have commenced our second wave of legal action against on-line infringers, so far we have obtained evidence against 50 targeted on-line infringers and we will continue this exercise from time to time. We will immediately seek disclosure of the identity of an infringer from the relevant ISPs and commence legal proceedings based on the relevant evidence obtained by us against him without further delay. The objective of the second phase is to achieve deterrence against on-line piracy. Serious case may be referred to the Customs and Excise Department for criminal investigation without any further notice. We are committed and determined to fight against on-line piracy. This press release is made simultaneously with the worldwide announcement of legal actions by 18 countries/territories against p2p illegal file sharing on the internet by IFPI in London today. The new country which joins this wave of action is Portugal IFPI (Hong Kong Group) Ltd

Dated: 4th April, 2006