Police in Vietnam have arrested three operators of pirate websites after raiding a movie piracy group.
In a groundbreaking move, Vietnamese police have arrested three individuals responsible for operating websites that illegally streamed pirated movies and anime.
This significant action, rare in Vietnam, may signal a shift towards more stringent intellectual property enforcement, offering a glimmer of hope to Hollywood and other stakeholders.
Vietnam’s Stance on Intellectual Property Rights
Vietnam’s approach to protecting intellectual property rights has been a subject of international scrutiny, particularly by the United States.
The country has consistently featured in the USTR Special 301 Reports, highlighting its lax stance on intellectual property infringement.
However, the recent arrests could indicate a turning point in Vietnam’s IP enforcement policies.
The Arrests: A Step Forward in the Fight Against Piracy
The news of the arrests broke on Tuesday, following a statement from the Quang Binh Provincial Police Department.
The alleged leader of the piracy operation, Phan Ngoc Tuan, and two recruited associates, Ngo Quang Huy and Nguyen Thanh Nhan, were detained for running websites bilutvt.net, tvhayh.org, and animefull.net.
These sites illegally streamed content without the necessary rights and permissions, generating significant profits through advertising revenue.
The Alleged Ringleader: Phan Ngoc Tuan
Tuan, a 30-year-old resident of Quang Ninh district in Quang Binh province, reportedly acquired the source code for these websites back in 2019.
His goal was to distribute movies to the public illegally, earning profits from advertisements.
Tuan managed to remain undetected by employing anonymous intermediary servers and renting movie storage servers located overseas.
Tuan’s operation expanded when he hired Ngo Quang Huy and Nguyen Thanh Nhan, both from Ho Chi Minh City.
The trio coordinated their activities online, primarily using Telegram, and never met in person.
Huy and Nhan were tasked with downloading, editing, and distributing movies, although specific details of their work remain undisclosed.
The Financial Angle: Profits from Illegal Advertising
The authorities have revealed that Tuan’s operation was not just about distributing pirated content but also about monetizing it.
He is believed to have stored around 188,322 movie files, roughly 40TB of data.
The revenue generated from this operation was substantial, with monthly profits estimated between 80 to 100 million VND (approximately US$3,300 to US$4,100).
Legal Implications and Ongoing Investigations
Vietnamese authorities are clear about the legal ramifications of these activities.
The confirmed charges are “Infringement of copyright and related rights” under Article 225 of the Penal Code. This article targets individuals who, without permission, copy and distribute copyrighted works to the public.
The nature of the advertising deployed on Tuan’s sites, including illegal gambling ads, might also play a role in the prosecution.
The Bigger Picture: A Hopeful Horizon for Hollywood
While the MPA/ACE might have had larger operations in mind during their visit to Vietnam last summer, these arrests signify a potential shift in Vietnam’s approach to online piracy.
Hollywood and other industries affected by piracy have long awaited such a proactive stance from Vietnamese authorities.
The recent arrests in Vietnam mark a significant milestone in the battle against online piracy.
Hollywood and other global stakeholders will be watching closely, as this may signal a new era in Vietnam’s commitment to protecting intellectual property rights.
For more details on this story, refer to the report from TorrentFreak.
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