MPA suit targets China's Xunlei

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The MPA's six member companies have filed civil complaints in a Shanghai court, seeking $975,000 in damages from Shenzhen Xunlei Networking Technologies, a popular peer-to-peer network in China.

"We have been encouraged by the Chinese government time and again to use their courts to defend our members' rights, and by doing so we are demonstrating our continued faith in the sovereignty of the judicial process in China," said Frank Rittman, the MPA's vp, deputy regional director and regional legal counsel for the Asia-Pacific region.

The suit points out 78 infringements of member company films by Xunlei, including such titles as "Spider-Man 3," "War of the Worlds" and "Miami Vice."

"P2P piracy is a huge problem in China, which, if left unattended, will threaten the continued development of legitimate online services supported by copyright owners," Rittman said Friday.

The MPA first pointed the finger at Xunlei in January 2007 for allowing unauthorized downloading of its members' products.

"We have observed that like many file-sharing networks/ enablers in China, the content available through them includes copyright-infringing versions of Motion Picture Association member company films," MPA senior vp and regional director Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis said at the time.

Earlier this month, Xunlei lost a similar suit brought by Shanghai Youdu Broadband Technology Co., which was awarded 150,000 yuan ($20,833) by the Pudong District People's Court, according to a report in English-language newspaper China Daily.

Youdu sued Xunlei for illegally distributing and profiting from "Confession of Pain," starring Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro. Youdu had paid for online distribution rights, only to see the film later made available illegally on Xunlei's network.

Xunlei has a deal with Internet search giant Google for co-marketing and product cooperation.

In addition to the financial compensation, MPA member companies are seeking a public acknowledgment of copyright infringement and a promise to cease and desist all such activities.

The MPA has seen the successful conclusion of 42 complaints in China involving 135 accounts of copyright infringement and more than $279,000 paid in awards and damages, the group said.
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