A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of illegally distributing music by local singer Eason Chan on a local discussion forum.

The files – eight of them in total – contained a live performance of a CD pre-release concert and were posted on the forum before the official release of the album. The suspected pirated files were uploaded to a cyberlocker, which could be accessed via a hyperlink after members of the forum replied to a message post.

Eason Chan. Photo: Stand News.

Customs officers of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau said they had received a complaint about the matter. After an investigation, they arrested the suspect at his house in Kwun Tong on Tuesday and took away computer equipment. The man has been released on bail.

“According to the Copyright Ordinance, anyone who without the license of the copyright owner distributes an infringing copy of a work to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner, whether or not it is for benefit, commits an offence. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for four years and a fine of $50,000 for each infringing copy,” the government statement.

Chan gave a concert last September in Wan Chai to an audience of 50 fans as a preview of his new CD, “Getting Ready”. It is suspected that songs were recorded secretly as the CD was not released until this July.

A spokesperson from Chan’s label, Universal Music Hong Kong, said that recording and uploading was illegal. He also said that he hoped everyone would not knowingly break the law, and would instead support genuine and legal copies.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.