Taoyuan, Prosecutors in Taoyuan have indicted two men on suspicion of operating a video piracy streaming site called “8maple.ru” (楓林網) and requested that more than NT$67 million (US$2.35 million) in assets from their illegal dealings be frozen.
The two men — a 33-year-old surnamed Chen (陳) and a 32-year-old surnamed Chuang (莊) — were indicted for violating the Copyright Act, the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office said in a statement released Monday.
It also asked for their assets to be frozen as the website has infringed on an estimated NT$1 billion worth of copyrighted material in both the foreign and domestic movie and TV industries in case the plaintiffs seek to recover their losses, Taoyuan prosecutors said.
According to the indictment, the two men collaborated with Chinese nationals in the scheme since 2015 to use offshore cloud hosting services to download unauthorized movies, dramas and television series and offer the pirated programs online free of charge.
It also provided links to other websites and embedded ads in films streaming online to reap illegal gains.
The video piracy platform, said to be the biggest in Taiwan, unlawfully obtained a large collection of copyrighted works, including 107 Taiwanese dramas, 64 American dramas, 60 Japanese dramas and 144 movies from Taiwan and abroad and infringed on the intellectual property rights of several companies.
Several movie, video and TV production companies, including Taiwan’s CK TV, Sanlih E-Television, Fuji Television Network, Inc., and Warner Bros., have collected evidence and have brought lawsuits against the website operators.
After an investigation of several months, the Criminal Investigation Bureau arrested the two alleged operators in a crackdown on March 31 and found that the two suspects took in illegal gains of more than NT$76 million.
Based on the evidence collected, the website operators were making as much as NT$2 million per month in advertising revenue, according to the CIB.
The case was then handed over to prosecutors for further investigation.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel