[Tip o' the hat to Dave] Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Chen Shoufu, a 28 year old computer science instructor, has been arrested for distributing a program (Coral QQ) that strips ads from QQ, China's dominant instant messaging network.
Tencent [the operator of QQ] first complained to Mr. Chen in late 2002, saying Coral QQ violated its copyright and warning him to stop distributing it. He did. Mr. Chen then devised a noninvasive "patch" on the program -- a separate piece of software -- that would run concurrently with QQ on a user's computer and modify it as the two went humming along. In 2003, he resumed offering Coral QQ.
In 2006, as it became increasingly apparent that Coral QQ was only growing in popularity, Tencent filed a 500,000 yuan ($68,000) lawsuit alleging copyright infringement against Mr. Chen and won a judgment for 100,000 yuan, which Mr. Chen paid. In early August, Tencent complained to the police in Shenzhen, where it has its headquarters, and on Aug. 16 Mr. Chen was detained. Tencent said Mr. Chen was "making illegal profits and infringing on Tencent's copyright."