April 25, 2007 / 2:59 PM / 10 years ago

Six movie studios win China piracy case

<p>A street hawker peddles a pirated DVD of Walt Disney/Pixar's latest blockbuster "The Incredibles" on a sidewalk in Shanghai, in this December 16, 2004 file photo. Six U.S. movie companies have won a case against a Beijing DVD store that was selling pirated copies of their films, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.Claro Cortes</p>

BEIJING (Reuters) - Six U.S. movie companies have won a case against a Beijing DVD store that was selling pirated copies of their films, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, as China pledges to get tough on copyright pirates.

The six -- Warner Bros, Columbia Pictures, Universal City Studios, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney -- found the store was selling fake versions of films such as "i,Robot" and "Before Sunset", the report said.

A Beijing court ordered Beijing Cherry Blossom Star Culture Company and its affiliated DVD shop to pay 195,000 yuan ($25,260) in compensation, though the U.S. companies had sought 2.46 million yuan, Xinhua said.

"Lawyers for the American companies determined the shop was owned by Cherry Blossom Star Culture Company, which they say infringed their copyright by reproducing the movies without permission," it said.

"The Beijing company argued that it was not directly involved in selling the pirated DVDs, but admitted it was affiliated with the Lihua Zhisheng DVD shop, which has already stopped selling pirated DVDs," Xinhua said.

The firm said it was willing to apologize, though the court did not order an apology, the report added. China has been riled by U.S. complaints to the World Trade Organization that it is not doing enough to tackle piracy, such as the billions lost each year by Hollywood to copyright pirates.

The government says it does take the problem seriously, but faces a multitude of problems, such as convincing the public not to buy fakes.

$1 = 7.719 yuan

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