Hefei: A court in Hefei, the capital of east China’s Anhui province, has frozen the bank accounts of three karaoke bars, and the assets and property of two others pending the result of a copyright infringement lawsuit, Xinhua reported on Monday. Together, the frozen accounts and property are worth nearly 450,000 yuan ($65,876).
This is the first time a court in China has frozen bank accounts or assets before it has reached a judgment, in order to protect any claim the plaintiff might have to the defendant’s assets after the case. Often, violators will spend or hide their money to avoid having it seized by the court if they are caught.
The court’s decision was important, said Lu Wenju, the Vice Director General of the China Audio-Video Copyright Association, which manages copyrights of video and audio works in China.
“Sometimes, even if the copyright owners win the case, they can’t get the money [because it has been spent or is gone]. By…freezing the money of copyright violators, the protection of intellectual property rights can be realized on the ground,” he said.
The lawsuit was brought by two music companies from Beijing and Shenzhen, and alleged that the five karaoke bars in Hefei were illegally using their music products. Both companies demanded compensation of 120,000 yuan from each of the karaoke bars.