China seeks record $42 million fine in prosecution of online video piracy app

China seeks record $42 million fine in prosecution of online video piracy app

A pirated movie plays in the QVOD mobile app.

Nearly two months after a police raid on the offices of QVOD, China’s most notorious video piracy app, there are reports today that authorities in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen are seeking to impose a fine of nearly $42 million. That would make it China’s biggest piracy-related payout.

According to the report in Tencent Tech (in Chinese) this afternoon, the target fine comes from an estimation that QVOD – known as Kuaibo in Chinese – made RMB 86.7 million (US$13.9 million) from illegally streamed or downloaded content that was monetized via advertising. The Shenzhen Municipal Market Supervision Administration then tripled that number to come up with the $42 million figure.

QVOD remained online immediately after the April police raid, but its website and streaming service closed down some time in May.

Today’s announcement comes from a closed-door hearing in Shenzhen. There’s no word yet on a date for the trial.

See: In new web clampdown in Thailand, lots of porn, piracy, and gambling sites blocked

Aside from facing prosecution, QVOD – along with web giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), which is not related to QVOD – is being sued by a collective of four leading video sites (Youku, Tencent, Sohu, and LeTV) who are seeking RMB 300 million ($49 million) in damages. This has not yet gone to court.

“Since the second half of 2010, LeTV has found evidence of 650 copyright violations by QVOD,” said LeTV COO Liu Hong late last year when the lawsuit was issued.

We’ve contacted Youku, China’s biggest video site, for comment on its legal battle with QVOD and will update if there’s a response.

Editing by Paul Bischoff
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