Running a private server can be hard and it can cost a lot of money. In China, one man made a lot of money running a private server and now he's headed to jail.

People's Daily reports that the Banan district Court of Chongqing, Sichuan province sentenced a young man to three years in prison, four years probation and fined him $48,800 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 the 2-plus years that his server was operational Zhang raked in about $156178. It's unclear how Zhang caught the attention of the authorities but his actions landed him in court β€” 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 were 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 very few cases of a server being shut down and brought 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 Volkswagen 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.

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