A local Chinese judge has sentenced web portal Sohu.com (SOHU) to pay over CNY1.08 million as compensation to five international entertainment companies because the portal provided illegal downloading of the companies' films to Internet users.

The five film companies are Fox Movies, Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, New Line Cinema and Universal City Studios. The ten films involved are "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "The Day After Tomorrow" from Fox Movies; "National Security" and "S.W.A.T." by Sony Pictures; "The Lord of the Rings" of New Line Cinema; "Ocean's Eleven" and "Harry Potter III" of Warner Bros; and "Honey", " Dawn of the Dead" and "Vanity Fair" from Universal City Studios.

The court set the compensation on the basis of such key factors as the films' influence and the duration of Sohu's infringement. Fox receives CNY261,000; Sony Pictures gets CNY191,000; New Line Cinema wins CNY140,000; Warner Bros wins CNY241,000; and Universal City Studios earns CNY251,500.

The court has also sentenced Sohu.com to remove the area on its websites where the films were downloaded by netizens.

Local media report that laywers from all the concerned parties say that they will discuss with their clients whether to make another appeal.

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