China crackdown on well-known fansub groups to protect intellectual property rights
Published: Feb 03, 2021 07:11 PM

Photo: website

China is cracking down on the unofficial fansub groups who create subtitles for foreign TV shows in a bid to tighten the protection on intellectual property rights.

Shanghai police have cracked down on an unofficial fansub group, "Renren Film and Television Subtitle Group", one of the most watched video sites for Chinese audience to spin-watch overseas TV shows.

The action involved 20,000 infringing episodes of TV shows, 14 suspects and 16 million yuan ($2.47 million) in a campaign in September, media reported.

The news came as a heated-discussion on the topic took place on the Chinese internet with 220 million views and 82,000 posts on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of press time.

After investigation, police found that the group has been providing unauthorized film and TV shows obtained from overseas pirate forums to Chinese viewers and hiring teams to translate the TV shows at 400 yuan per episodes, uploading it to its app server and websites, generating illegal profits by collecting website membership and advertising fees.

Initial findings show that the APP and website have released more than 20,000 episodes and had garnered more than eight million registered members.

Some users hoped that the platform could utilize the chance to rectify its business by importing the shows through legal means. 

"As an ordinary consumer I enjoy the high-quality pictures and translations provided by the platform. I hope that after the incident platforms like Renren will respect intellectual property rights, I am willing to pay for it," a Shanghai based user surnamed Chen told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The police arrested 14 suspects, deregistered three associated companies, and confiscated 12 computer servers and 16 million yuan involved in the case, according to media reports.

Since January 1, Shanghai police have cracked down on more than 110 infringement and counterfeiting cases which involved more than 400 million yuan in illicit gains, the operation is aimed at safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of more than 160 Chinese and foreign brands.