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Piracy video site Renren Yingshi founder sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for copyright infringement

November 22, 2021 10:41 pm

According to Shanghai No. 3 Intermediate People’s Court, in first-instance judgment, Liang Yongping, the founder of video sharing platform Renren Yingshi, or YYeTs.com, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for copyright infringement and faced a fine of 1.5 million yuan ($234,845).

The judge decided that Liang’s illegal gains shall be recovered and the property which had been used for committing the crime shall be confiscated.

Upon the trial, the court found that since 2018, Liang Yongping founded Wuhan Lian Shijie Technology Co. Ltd, and later established Wuhan Kuai Yixing Technology Co. Ltd. He employed Wang (first name withheld) and over 10 people as operation and technology personnel. He asked them develop the website of Renren Subtitles and Renren Yingshi’s other versions on Android, IOS, Windows, MacOSX, TV, etc.

Besides, Liang asked Xie (first name withheld) to organize a group of translators and demanded them download the unauthorized film and TV works. These staff altogether translated, produced, and uploaded the output to relevant servers.

In addition to the case of Liang Yongping, the cases mentioned above will be investigated in separate trials.

In February, police in Shanghai detained 14 people related to the case.

According to the judgment, there were over 32,800 unauthorized film, and television works on Renren Yingshi’s website and relevant platforms, which had 6.83 million users. Since January 2018, the total illegal revenue from these channels has been more than 12 million yuan ($1.88 million).

YYeTs.com was founded in 2003 by a group of Chinese students in Canada, originally as a nonprofit organization, according to Caixin Global. It’s to some extent popular among a large group of Chinese millennials, with subtitled videos of The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones. But its practice tolerating piracy has become a notorious issue as Beijing regulates the sector.