The Criminal Investigation Bureau has shut down what was reportedly the nation’s top video piracy Web site, 8maple.ru (楓林網), and arrested its two alleged proprietors in Taoyuan.
Authorities estimated that the site had infringed on NT$1 billion (US$33.2 million) in copyrights owned by the movie and TV industries.
The crackdown was the result of international cooperation with the US’ Motion Picture Association, Japan’s Content Overseas Distribution Association, and local TV networks initiating probes and providing authorities with evidence of illegal downloads, bureau officials said.
Photo copied by Chiu Chun-fu, Taipei Times
The site allowed users to download movies and TV shows from Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the US and Europe for free, Telecommunications Investigation Corps section head Chen Juei-chin (陳瑞金) told a media briefing.
“The site was in 2014 started in Taiwan by the two suspects, who have the expertise as they are software engineers,” Chen said. “They made about NT$2 million in monthly revenue from business and service company ads on the site.”
At the start, the two men promoted the site as an online commercial advertising service, but soon turned it into a video piracy site, for which they paid a total of NT$300,000 monthly for 25 servers in five countries — the US, Canada, Ukraine, France and Romania — to avoid investigation and prosecution by Taiwanese authorities, Chen added.
A bureau investigation found that monthly downloads from the site reached about 30 million, while the proprietors made about NT$4 million in advertising revenue.
The site was reportedly Taiwan’s top site for downloading movies and TV shows for free, and was also popular with people in China and other countries, becoming a prominent international piracy site.
The two suspects, surnamed Chen (陳), 33, and Chuang (莊), 32, are friends who were in the same software engineering program and graduated at the top of their class, for which they received scholarships for graduate studies at National Taiwan University, bureau officials said.
Investigators found that the two men had purchased two luxury mansions in Taoyuan, allegedly using their illegal profits from running the site to each pay NT$16 million in cash for the properties.
After weeks of surveillance and collecting evidence, the bureau coordinated with Taoyuan prosecutors and local police to conduct the raid at the end of last month, leading to the arrests of the two suspects, as well as the seizure of their properties and NT$60 million in their bank accounts, bureau officials said.
The officials quoted the two as saying that they started the site because they are both fans of TV dramas and foreign movies, so they decided to put their software expertise to good use in the name of entertainment and profit.
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
The gig began with a nun chanting on stage, but suddenly erupted into a wall of noise unleashed by distorted guitars and screamed sutras — the unique sound of Taiwan’s first Buddhist death metal band. The nation has a vibrant metal scene, but few outfits are quite as eye-catching as Dharma (達摩樂隊), a band that aims to deliver enlightenment via the medium of throaty eight-string guitars and guttural roars. Dressed in robes — black, of course — they use traditional Sanskrit sutras as lyrics, but everything else screams death metal, from bloody face paint on stage to growled vocals, relentless riffs and
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
A petition has been launched calling for harsher drunk driving penalties in South Korea after a Taiwanese doctoral student was killed by an inebriated driver earlier this month in Seoul. On the evening of Nov. 6, 28-year-old theology student Tseng Yi-lin (曾以琳) was walking home from her professor’s house — crossing the road at a green pedestrian light — when she was hit by a drunk driver. South Korean authorities told Tseng’s parents that the driver would receive a lighter punishment “because the accident happened while the perpetrator was drunk,” the petition said. In response, friends of Tseng on Monday initiated a petition