Chinese Man Jailed For Running For-Profit Private Server

In the Banan district Court of Chongqing, Sichuan province, a young man was sentenced to three years in prison, four years probation and fined $US48805.80 for running a for-profit private server of the massively multi-player online role playing game, The Legend of Mir 2.

The young man, Zhang, started an illegal private server for The Legend of Mir 2 in fall of 2011. During 2-plus years that his server was operational Zhang raked in about $US156178. It's unclear how Zhang caught the attention of the authorities but his actions landed him in court — and jail.

Zhang originally started his server for Mir 2 in 2011 under the urging of his friends. Mir 2 was one of the most popular online games in China for a time; at one time its online population was said to have been around 120 million players. Hoping to make some money off the popularity of the game, Zhang rented five servers and opened up a number of websites dedicated to his "version" of the game. According to the court, Zhang's websites for his private server as well as his payment system was nearly identical to the Mir 2's official channels.

Private servers for online games fall under murky copyright laws. Despite the countless numbers of private servers in China, this is one of the few cases of a server being shut down and bought to trial. The government has confiscated all of Zhang's assets; the money that he made will all be kept by the national treasury, including a Volkswagon Passat that Zhang purchased.

A quick search on Google turned up loads of websites in and outside of China dedicated to private servers of Mir 2. Personally, I used to play on loads of Ragnarok Online private servers. Perhaps where Zhang went wrong was that he was charging people money for his servers instead of asking for donations.

[90后小伙经营《热血传奇》私服狂赚96万被判刑] [People's Daily]

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    A Volkswagon Passat? What a gangster, it was obviously worth the Chinese governments time and money to bust this guy and ruin his life...

    I remember something similar happened with a WoW private server I played on for a bit. I think it was Wowscape, from memory. That ran for years, and players could purchase 'donor' items like weapons and armor that were tweaked to just be plain godlike. The girl that was running it was making an absolute killing off the game, (I can't recall figures, but it was some obscene amount of money) and was doing it for years. I'm pretty sure Blizzard caught on and decided to make an example of her, and she got taken to court and utterly destroyed.

    I don't recall Blizzard doing it to any other private servers, but I think it served as a precautionary tale to all private server operators. The issue wasn't running a private server, but most definitely the fact that they were making a great deal of money off a Blizzard product.

      Definitely was WoWscape. Peyton made a good $2m in profit but Blizzard won an $80m lawsuit against her.

    can somebody explain to me the issue with private servers?

    the only issue i can see is that some people use it as a way around copyright protection

    i.e. Warcraft 3 private Dota servers

    and i guess for F2P games, the creators lose out on in game purchases

    but i dont ever recall having to pay for anything in Ragnarok Online

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