Chinese Authorities Net 11 in Piracy Bust
Today in international tech news: China busts "unprecedented" copyright infringers; Evernote doesn't blame China for massive hack; and Google takes flak, yet again, about its taxes -- but this time, from outside the UK.
05/08/13 8:39 AM PT
Police in Beijing arrested 11 suspects believed to be involved with a major high-definition downloading ring.
The website, silu.com, was running what has been called an "unprecedented" operation. It reportedly boasted more than 400,000 registered members and offered under-the-table downloads for nearly 19,000 films and TV series. The catalog included everything from arthouse films to foreign blockbusters.
As a full-service piracy provider, the site also had more than 3,300 music albums and 208 game software packages.
All told, the downloading platform accumulated 20 million downloads and had daily traffic in the tens of thousands.
The company responsible reportedly had seven employees, 140 website administrators and two brick-and-mortar stores. Uploaders are scattered throughout eight countries, including the U.S. and Japan, but the site itself was run out of Beijing.
Authorities are reportedly considering charges against uploaders whose special brand of philanthropy resulted in more than 50,000 downloads.
Last month, a new draft of China's "Copyright Law" was submitted to the legislative affairs office of the state council. The revised draft includes protection of online copyrights and liability for website operators.
Evernote: It Wasn't China
However, online storage service Evernote has gone the other way, publicly absolving China of a March attack that resulted in a huge security breach and cost the company millions of dollars.
Rather than from China, that attack came from identity theft groups, said Evernote CEO Phil Libin.
Evernote launched in China in March of 2012. This week, it released a Chinese version of its software -- it was released in the U.S. in December -- designed for corporate clients.
Mandiant, the security firm made famous for its February report that state-sponsored Chinese hackers have for years been conducting cyberespionage against the U.S., aided Evernote with its investigation.
France, Germany to Press Google on UK Taxes
British lawmakers have long admonished Google over the company's UK taxes practices.
Now politicians in Germany and France are getting into the act, which means the European Union's three biggest countries are all weighing in on the topic.
Google currently has no "taxable presence" in France, Germany or Britain, which allows its profits there to remain largely untaxed. Google's operations in these countries are designated as marketing and support service providers from Google Ireland, which, in turn, coughs up most of its turnover to tax-friendly Bermuda.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt recently defended Google's tax practices, saying that they were not only legal, but also on par with what other international companies do.
Google is not accused of illegal behavior -- just of being too sneaky.