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China Fines Pirates

The Hong Kong film industry has issued a second warning letter to 20 Bit-Torrent file-sharing software users demanding HK$23,400 ($3,000) for downloading illegal copies of locally produced films, VARIETY reports.

The users were uncovered after the courts ruled ISPs had to turn over names, Hong Kong identity card numbers and postal and billing addresses of the accused copyright infringers.

100 Years of Film, Hero China Intl. and Applause Pictures are looking for compensation for the downloading of such films as FEARLESS with Jet Li, comedy SHOPAHOLICS and animation MCDULL, THE ALUMNI.

At the end of August, the first round of letters were sent, giving 43 accused two weeks to respond. Those who responded either paid the fine or are negotiating payment plans.

"The fact that we could locate them, they sense that we are serious," said Woody Tsung, chief exec of Hong Kong's Motion Picture Industry Assn. (MPIA). "They think they're invisible" when downloading from the Internet, he added.

This second round of letters give the accused seven days to respond, after which the Film Industry Response Group, which is heading up the effort, will decide how to proceed.

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