Prolific movie and TV show pirate jailed in China

The man behind a video download and streaming website Renren Yingshi has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a Shanghai court and fined 1.5m yuan (around $230,000) for pirating thousands of movies and TV programmes.

Liang Yongping founded Renren Yingshi in 2003, and was accused of making around 30,000 moves and shows made by Chinese and overseas production companies – as well as subtitle files – available for download by site users.

Renren Yingshi is estimated to have made around 12m yuan ($1.9m) in profit from advertising, subscription fees and sale of hard copies, according to a South China Morning Post report.

Another 14 people have also been arrested in connection with the case, and are due to be prosecuted separately, according to the newspaper.

The site – which had around 6.8m users – was shut down earlier this year by Shanghai police as part of a major crackdown on content piracy.

It became wildly popular as a result of China's restriction on foreign content through legitimate streaming channels, forcing fans of shows like House of Cards, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife and Squid Game to seek other sources.

Image by Claudia Dewald from Pixabay

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