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  • Writer's pictureOliver Walsh

Taiwan Makes Landmark Sentencing - A Lesson For Other APAC Territories?

In a decisive move against copyright infringement, Taiwan has set a precedent by sentencing four individuals behind the notorious GimyTV piracy network. The Taipei District Court delivered its verdict, marking a significant victory for the global fight against digital piracy led by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the premier anti-piracy coalition worldwide.

The court sentenced Sean Wu, the primary operator of the GimyTV network, to 26 months in prison, highlighting the seriousness with which Taiwan is addressing copyright crimes. Kuo Ren-Quan, responsible for developing the sites, received a 22-month sentence. The other operators, Zhuang Shao-Qi and Wu Nian-Wen, were given 18 and 12 months, respectively, underscoring the comprehensive and deterrent-generating approach Taiwanese authorities took in dismantling piracy operations.

GimyTV, operational since 2019, saw its network of nine domains amassing over 36 million visits per month, illustrating the vast scale of their illicit operations. The crackdown followed persistent complaints from ACE and other copyright holders, culminating in a decisive police raid in October 2020. This action was part of a broader strategy that included site-blocking orders in Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore, showcasing international cooperation in the fight against copyright infringement.

Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Content Protection for the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and Head of ACE, lauded the efforts of Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office:

"The successful prosecution of the GimyTV operators is a testament to Taiwan's commitment to combating large-scale copyright crimes,"

This case, following on the heels of the prosecution against the operators of the 8maple websites, and Van Voorn went on to state:

"serves as a strong deterrent and reaffirms ACE's dedication to eradicating piracy in Taiwan and beyond".

The sentences handed down to the GimyTV operators represent a landmark moment in the ongoing battle against digital piracy. They demonstrate Taiwan's rigorous stance on copyright violations and signal to potential infringers the severe consequences of such activities. As global efforts to protect intellectual property rights intensify, Taiwan's proactive measures offer a blueprint for effective enforcement and cooperation, setting a standard for countries worldwide.

A blueprint for other APAC territories?

As mentioned in an earlier post, Vietnam stands at a critical juncture, recognised by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) in their 2023 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy as a global hub for online piracy and a breeding ground for notorious, globally significant piracy sites.

Vietnam could and should follow this example by implementing a similar standard of criminal enforcement. By pursuing and achieving criminal convictions against such operations, Vietnam can demonstrate its commitment to protecting intellectual property rights. Such action will provide substantial reassurance to international investors and content creators and pave the way for a healthier, more vibrant digital economy within the country.

Taiwan's recent actions have reminded us of the importance of protecting intellectual property in the digital age. It's a call to action for Vietnam's authorities to step up their efforts in fighting against piracy and ensuring transparency and diligence in their legal processes.


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