Magazine article Screen International

French Court Fines Five Film Pirates [Euro]1.1m

Magazine article Screen International

French Court Fines Five Film Pirates [Euro]1.1m

Article excerpt

Landmark ruling comes as future of existing Hadopi anti-piracy measure is under debate.

A Paris court has fined five members of two separate Internet film piracy rings [euro]1.1m and handed out suspended prison sentences of between three to six months.

News of the sentencing last Wednesday comes as the French socialist government mulls the future of France's controversial anti-piracy law known as the Hadopi, put in place by the previous centre-right government.

The five defendants were accused of managing two separate film piracy sites - the now defunct Cinéfox and Carnage.

The three people involved in Cinéfox were fined [euro]710,000 in damages and interests to a number of parties, including Disney, Universal and Warner Bros. They were also given suspended six-month prison sentences.

The remaining two defendants from Carnage were fined [euro]410,000 and given three and four-month suspended sentences.

According to French media reports, a court hearing on Sept 12 revealed how the defendants had been involved in managing the sites as well as gathering illegal content by filming in cinemas and copying foreign DVDs of titles not yet released in France.

One piece of evidence revealed Transformers had been downloaded 1.7m times after it was illegally put up online by one of the sites in 2007.

Set up in 2005, the Cinéfox site was closed down in 2008 after an investigation by French anti-piracy association ALPA following an anonymous tip-off.

Wednesday's ruling came just two weeks after the first ever fine for an individual under the controversial Hadopi anti-piracy law - which targets individual downloaders - since its introduction in 2009. …

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