On Monday, the Shanghai No.3 Intermediate Court held a public hearing on the case that Liang Yongping, the founder of YYeTs, a fansub group also known as Renren Yingshi, was suspected of committing copyright infringement. The founder was given a judgment of first instance and sentenced to three years and six months in prison. He was also fined 1.5 million yuan ($235,083) and will have confiscated any and all illegal gains and personal property seized for the crime.
Since 2018, Liang Yongping has set up two companies to develop the website and applications of YYeTs. He downloaded unauthorized films and TV series from overseas websites, then translated and uploaded them to servers and provided users access to these pirated copies.
After an audit and appraisal, there are 32,824 unauthorized films and TV series on YYeTs’ website and related applications. Paid members total about 6.83 million. From January 2018 until the sentence, the illegal business revenue totaled more than 12 million yuan.
Earlier in February, Shanghai officials released an announcement saying that many infringement and counterfeiting cases have been cracked, among which 14 suspects were arrested in the case of YYeTs, involving more than 16 million yuan. According to the announcement, in September 2020, Shanghai police found that some people had provided online viewing and downloading of films and TV series through the website and applications, all of which had been suspected of being infringed upon. After contacting the relevant copyright owners, the above-mentioned films and TV series have not obtained the authorization or license of the copyright owners.
In this regard, some netizens said: “It’s really sad. YYeTs fansub group accompanied me through college and the early days of work. My English was also learned by watching American TV dramas.” Some netizens also believe that “YYeTs has too many embedded advertisements for profit, which has a bad impact on the industry, and it should be investigated.”