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Kunshan Court Sentences Defendants to 4-Year Prison Term for Selling Game Cheat Plug-Ins in Chinese Criminal Copyright Infringement Case

On June 29, 2023, the People’s Court of Kunshan City rendered a public judgment of first instance on the criminal case of defendants He and Wang’s  illegal sale of the “Chicken Leg” (“鸡腿”) cheat game plug-ins for “Game for Peace” (和平精英) and PUBG MOBILE, sentencing both defendants to a fixed-term imprisonment of four years for the crime of copyright infringement and imposing a fine of 20 million RMB, and recovering the illegal proceeds and fruits thereof.

It was found by the Kunshan People’s Court that from September 2018 to January 2021, defendants He and Wang , et al. colluded with overseas game plug-in operation teams through overseas chat software, and sold the “Chicken Leg” plug-in programs targeting at Tencent Company’s Game for Peace and PUBG MOBILE games to domestic and overseas players by setting up websites and settling transactions in Bitcoin, among others, for profits. Defendant He was responsible for the sales channels of the plug-in program and answered to the overseas team, and defendant Wang was responsible for the fund settlement of the plug-in program. During the period from February 2020 to January 2021 only, defendant He made illegal gains of more than 19.56 million RMB through the sales of plug-in programs, and defendant Wang made illegal gains of more than 9.78 million RMB through the sales of the plug-in programs.

After a hearing, the People’s Court of Kunshan City held that: by deciphering the communication protocol of an online game and using the online game without authorization, the plug-in program involved in this case increased and modified the number and path of dynamic libraries recorded in the online game, read and write the memory data of the online game, and obtained and modified the memory data of the online game of Game for Peace and PUBG MOBILE without authorization, so as to realize the functions of “self-aiming,” and other features that the online game did not have, which undermined the normal operation of the online game, impaired the interests and reputation of the copyright owner of the online game, and the normal market order of the online game. Defendants He and Wang, for the purpose of making profits, published the online game plug-in programs in collusion with others without the permission of the copyright owners, and the amount of illegal proceeds was huge. The acts of both defendants had constituted the crime of copyright infringement. In a joint crime, defendants He and Wang were principal offenders and should be punished for all the crimes in which they participated. 

The announcement from the Court is available here (Chinese only).

Principal, and Director of the China Intellectual Property Practice

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