Video sharing site Qvod fined 260m yuan for sharing porn, infringing copyright | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 31, 2015
  • Updated: 4:05am
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Video sharing site Qvod fined 260m yuan for sharing porn, infringing copyright

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2014, 6:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 3:47am
 

One of China's most popular online platforms for watching and downloading video content will be fined 260 million yuan (HK$327 million) for linking to pornographic material and copyright infringement, according to media reports in Shenzhen.

Qvod, founded in 2007, has been accused of allowing users to watch pirated material and pornographic content on the company's peer-to-peer video-player technology.

The service, which boasts 300 million users, reportedly derived much of its profit by offering videos without the consent of licence holders. It is also alleged that it allows pornographic websites to access its streaming technology.

Yesterday, officers from the Shenzhen Market Supervision and Administration Bureau served a notice at the company's headquarters in Nanshan district, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily and several other major newspapers.

The bureau confirmed on its weibo account that it had served the notice to inform the company of its intention to impose a "large" fine, without confirming the amount. Qvod management was not present when the notice was served, the bureau added in its statement.

The company, the subject of ongoing probes, was not available for comment yesterday.

Last November, the mainland's biggest online video providers, including Sohu, Tencent and Youku Tudou, filed a joint lawsuit against Qvod and Baidu, the mainland's leading search engine, for using their videos without authorisation. Qvod was fined 250,000 yuan.

Early last month, Qvod was compelled to shut down its servers after the National Copyright Administration said it continued to violate copyrights. On April 22, Shenzhen police raided Qvod's headquarters and seized computers and equipment.

On May 15, the National Office against Pornographic and Illegal Publications revoked Qvod's internet business licence for spreading pornographic content. Several suspects from the company were detained.

The move against Qvod is seen as part of a larger campaign by officials to cleanse cyberspace, with spot checks on websites, search engines and mobile application stores, internet television USB sticks and set-top boxes, according to the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications.

Websites can be shut down or have their administrative licence revoked if they are found to produce or spread pornography.

The campaign has seen 110 websites shut down and some 3,300 accounts on social networking services as well as online forums deleted.

China has 450 million online video viewers, which is nearly 80 per cent of its online population. The number is expected to rise to 700 million by 2016, according to iResearch.

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