(Yicai Global) Feb. 8 -- Wang Xin, founder of Chinese webcast platform Qvod Technology Co., was released from prison yesterday after spending three and a half years behind bars.
Wang immediately attended a gathering of internet tycoons including Yao Jinbo, chief executive of 58.Com Inc., He Xiaopeng, chairman of Xpeng Motors, and Li Xueling, chief executive of YY Inc.
"[I am] very happy today about brother Wang's return," Xpeng Motors' He wrote in a message he posted last night on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website. "He was in high spirits and talked with us about artificial intelligence, video and blockchain technology development."
Wang formed Shenzhen-based Qvod in 2007. It was the most popular video player in China in 2011. Back then the country had about 500 million internet users, and some 400 million had installed Qvod on their computers, public information shows. But in September 2016, he was convicted of distributing pornographic materials for profit and handed a backdated prison sentence.
"Technology is not illegal," Wang yelled at his first-instance hearing in January 2015.
Video copyright infringement was the fatal issue that brought about the firm's demise. Though other major video-sharing sites such as Tudou and Youku have also been involved in copyright infringement lawsuits, they held copyrights to at least some of their video content. By contrast, Qvod as a video player could not ascertain whether content played on it was legitimate or not.
Dozens of Chinese video websites offering copyrighted content and copyright owners kicked off a joint campaign against pirated online video services in November 2013. They developed applications to counter video piracy by Baidu Player and Qvod, against whom they filed lawsuits.
The police extracted 29,841 video files from Qvod servers on Nov. 18 that same year and found that 21,251 contained pornographic content. The police conducted a thorough investigation of Qvod Technology in April 2014 and revoked the firm's telecoms business license the next month. Authorities charged it with disseminating porn on April 22, 2014. Wang fled China the same month, was arrested in August and repatriated.
The court in Beijing's Haidian district broadcast Wang's hearing live online on Jan. 7, 2016. He pleaded guilty to the charges on Sept. 9, 2016 and was convicted, sentenced and fined CNY1 million (USD158,000). Qvod was found guilty of the same crime and was fined CNY10 million.
"Master Wang will become a legend again soon," Xpeng Motors' He added in his Weibo post last night.