Schoolboy nabbed for Internet music piracy
HONG KONG, China -- A 14-year-old computer whizkid has been arrested in Hong Kong for distributing copyrighted pop songs on the Internet for free.
The boy, the youngest person arrested by Hong Kong customs for Internet piracy, had allegedly set up a Web site and illegally created his own server.
He then set up links between his site and other networks that enabled surfers to download music free of charge, the customs department said Wednesday.
The site, which had attracted 40,000 page views since its launch two months ago, offered users some 300 pop songs, many of them by well-known Cantonese pop stars, the department said.
The boy, a student, was arrested during a raid on his home on Monday during which computer equipment worth about $3,000 was seized, the head of the department's intellectual property operations, Ben Ho, told Reuters news agency.
Customs officials did not identify the boy, but said he had a high level of computer skills. "This was not something an ordinary person could have done," Ho said.
The site has now been shut down and the boy has been released on bail pending advice from the justice department.
If found criminally liable, the boy faces fines of up to HK$50,000 (US$6,400) for each case of copyright infringement, and a maximum four-year jail sentence.
Ho said the customs department began investigating the case three weeks ago after receiving a complaint about the Web site.
It is the eighth case of Internet piracy unearthed since Hong Kong's Customs and Excise Department set up a special team to tackle the issue at the start of the year.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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