Shenzhen Police arrested the owners and operators of a factory in Shenzhen China illegally programming pirate IPTV boxes to stream ABS-CBN.
Alan Zhou and Roland Lu, the owners and operators of Shenzhen Welnavi Technology Co., LTD (“Shenzhen Welnavi”) factory in Shenzhen, China, programmed pirate IPTV boxes in Shenzhen and marketed and sold them around the world under the “Filstream” brand.
They were arrested and charged with copyright infringement by the Shenzhen Police on Wednesday, local time in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. Two senior programmers at the factory were also arrested and charged.
The company’s servers and business records were seized as part of the police team’s criminal investigation of the illegal distribution network. The factory was shut down completely after the raid.
The arrests in China were the culmination of an eight-month long worldwide investigation spearheaded by the Philippine media and entertainment network ABS-CBN.
To date, the investigation has resulted in the arrest and seizure of Filstream box distributors in Illinois and Florida.
The arrest and prosecution of additional distributors in multiple locations around the United States and Canada is ongoing and expected within the coming weeks.
According to ABS-CBN’s AVP & Head of Global Anti-Piracy Elisha Lawrence, the police have determined that Alan Zhou and Roland Lu ran a global piracy operation with the intent to interfere with ABS-CBN’s legitimate business.
“ABS-CBN/TFC distributes its content through cable providers, its own TFC IPTV boxes, as well as via digitally on tfc.tv. Alan Zhou and Roland Lu have disrupted ABS-CBN’s legitimate business,” Lawrence said.
“They contacted customers of ABS-CBN offering their boxes in lieu of ABS-CBN’s legitimate IPTV boxes. They blatantly confused customers by using ABS-CBN’s registered trademarks and logos on their websites and social media sites. Alan Zhou and Roland Lu’s actions were despicable,” she added.
Lawrence also said that ABS-CBN plans to continue initiating criminal and civil actions against anyone who steals its movies and TV shows and offers them via IPTV box, free websites or on Youtube, Daily Motion and Facebook.
“ABS-CBN spends millions of dollars each year producing these TV shows and movies and we will not allow these pirates to give them away for free,” Lawrence said.
ABS-CBN Global COO Raffy Lopez said, “We will continue to do everything in our power to prosecute all who would attempt to pirate our content,” said Lopez. Piracy is like a cancer in the content industry. The pirates, in their selfish pursuit of short-term profits, have absolutely no regard for their negative impact on the industry. We will continue our vigilance in finding and prosecuting all pirates regardless of the cost,” he added.