Jailed ‘Big Crook’ BitTorrent Pirate Appeals Again

Chan Nai-ming, the first man in the world to be sentenced to jail for using BitTorrent has taken a second appeal against his sentence to the highest Court in Hong Kong. Chan made his first appeal against his original sentence of three months in prison in 2006, but lost the case.

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Chan, 38, who used the internet pseudonym “Big Crook” was arrested in January 2005, accused of the illegal distribution of three movies – “Daredevil”, “Miss Congeniality” and “Red Planet” after his IP was logged by a specialist internet piracy investigation team.

Today, Chan appeared at the highest Court in Hong Kong to begin his second appeal in an attempt to overturn his original sentence. His lawyer claims that although Chan admits downloading the movies in question, he never uploaded them. If there had been any offenses, they were carried out by the other downloaders, he claims.

Chan Nai-ming made the first appeal against his sentence in 2006 but even though High Court judge Clare-Marie Beeson accepted that Chan did not deliberately share copyright material with others, she decided to send a strong deterrent message to other potential sharers by letting the conviction stand.

Following his arrest in 2005, the active BitTorrent population in Hong Kong reduced by 80% but has since recovered.

Update: It appears Chan Nai-Ming is claiming that although he had the movies on his computer, they were never intended for anyone else but himself. Furthermore, he argues that it was other users downloading from him, not him uploading to them. If they had not instigated the action of downloading, he could not have committed the offense, he argues.

Additionally, Chan’s lawyer is claiming criminal law does not cover digital copies, only physical ones, such as CDs and DVDs, therefore there should be no criminal charges. The government is arguing that as the movies were on a hard disc, they were in fact physical copies.

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