Chinese fine portal Sohu.com

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Nasdaq-listed Web portal Sohu.com and a repeat seller of pirated DVDs, Di Kai AV Products Co., have been found guilty of copyright infringement by courts in Beijing and Shanghai, the MPA said.

Judge Yi Jun of the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled last week that Beijing Sohu Internet Information Service Co. Ltd. must pay 1,085,000 yuan ($138,850) in costs and damages, publish an acknowledgment of its infringements and pledge to refrain from future piracy, the MPA said.

The subsidiary of one of China's most popular Web portals, Sohu.com, was found guilty of posting digital files of such films as "Day After Tomorrow" and "The Lord of the Rings" without the consent of the copyright owners, five Hollywood studios.

A spokesperson for Beijing-based Sohu declined comment.

Highlighting another problem Hollywood faces in China, five of the 10 films offered for illegal download on Sohu were never exhibited theatrically in China, a fact that amplifies the losses to online piracy since the government in Beijing limits the number of overseas films that may be shown in China's movie theaters each year.

The lawsuit against Sohu, coordinated by the MPA, was filed in August following the MPA's 2004 discovery of several of its member companies' films among the more than 100 titles offered by Sohu under a monthly subscription arrangement.

With about 100 million registered users, Sohu is one of the three largest Web sites in China.
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