Paul J. McNulty, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, announced that Billy J. Brown, age 49 of Sterling, Virginia, pleaded guilty yesterday before the Honorable T.S. Ellis III, United States District Judge, to creating and selling musical compact discs in violation of the criminal copyright laws. Brown is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ellis on August 29, 2003, and faces a maximum sentence of five years incarceration and a fine of $250,000. Brown admitted that from January 1997 until April 17, 2002, he illegally transferred copyrighted musical works on to a total of 24 compilation CDs without license agreements or authorization by the copyright holders. The copyrighted music was then reproduced, packaged and sold by Brown in conjunction with his role as a D.J. at line dancing events held throughout the United States, or over the Internet through Brown’s mail order business, BJ’s Music Productions. Brown contracted with a professional data reproduction service to create over 17,000 illegal music CDs, which he sold for between $12 and $20 each. Brown agreed that his actions resulted in a loss to the copyright holders of between $200,000 and $350,000. Mr. McNulty stated, “I hope this case serves as a warning shot to all would-be thieves of copyrighted material. There are real penalties for this criminal conduct.” Also making this announcement is Martha Stansell-Gamm, Chief of the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
The case was investigated by the Fairfax County Police Department, with assistance from the Recording Industry Association of America. Prosecuting this case for the United States are Assistant United States Attorney Scott J. Stein and Christopher Merriam, Trial Attorney, with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Department of Justice.