Ultramarathon runner accused of profiteering scheme - bdsthanhhoavn.com

Ultramarathon runner accused of profiteering scheme

  • By Jason Pan / Staff reporter

Taipei prosecutors have launched a probe into former ultramarathon runner Kevin Lin (林義傑), accusing him of profiteering through a copyright infringement scheme.

Legal experts and alleged victims yesterday said Lin’s company persuaded about 1,000 people to download films, but then filed copyright infringement lawsuits against them, seeking to profit from settlements.

Police on Wednesday searched Lin’s company, Truth Intellectual Property Consulting Co (真相智財顧問), which he runs with a business partner, Hsu Jen-tai (許仁泰).

Photo: Chien Li-chung, Taipei Times

Lin, who retired from competitive running in 2016, was questioned in court and posted bail of NT$200,000 (US$6,774).

Hsu posted NT$100,000 bail, and an employee surnamed Chiu (邱) posted NT$60,000 bail.

Prosecutors said they had received complaints that the company had enticed people to download foreign-made commercial films from data-sharing sites using BitTorrent software and later filed copyright infringement lawsuits against them.

The company filed nearly 1,000 lawsuits in less than one year, seeking to reach settlements, they said.

The alleged victims said Lin and Hsu acted as “copyright trolls.”

Lin, Hsu and Chui might face charges for breaching Article 157 of the Criminal Code and the Attorney Regulation Act (律師法), as the company was not licensed to seek such settlements, prosecutors said.

Lawyer Ke Tsung-hsien (柯宗賢) yesterday said that his law firm is handling some of the complaints against Lin.

Another lawyer using the pseudonym “klaw” wrote on Facebook that Lin’s company filing almost identical lawsuits against 1,000 people was evidence that its motive was profiteering.

Gathering people’s online data to file lawsuits against them was a large part of its business model, the lawyer said.

Lin said the investigation was politically motivated, as he is closely associated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and well-known for supporting its candidate in the 2020 presidential election, former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).

KMT deputy secretary-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) echoed the sentiment, saying: “We believe this case against Lin is politically motivated.”

Lin recently criticized the government for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, adding that the government should explain why it is targeting him.

“We demand no political interference in the judicial system,” she said.

However, legal experts said Lin’s company likely acted illegally.

Lin should face the accusations without hiding behind the KMT, they said.

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