SAN JOSE- United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that, as part of the ongoing prosecution arising out of Operation Copycat, four individuals were sentenced today and one more pleaded guilty, bringing the total number of convictions to thirty-two. Since July 14, 2005, thirty-seven individuals have been criminally charged as part of the ongoing investigation into online "warez" sites. Thirty-two of those individuals, including two film critics, have been convicted since September 26, 2005.
Colin Roy Jacobson, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty yesterday to aiding and abetting criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work on a computer network. According to the plea agreement, Mr. Jacobson admitted to the following:
Jacobson, a film critic who wrote for the a website called "DVDMG.com" admitted that he sold advance copies of at least 31 movies to a known warez supplier between July 2001 and June 2005. Mr. Jacobson is the second film critic to be convicted of copyright infringement as part of Operation Copycat.
The first film critic convicted under Operation Copycat, Paul Sherman, of Malden, Massachusetts, entered a guilty plea on May 22, 2006 before U.S. District Court Judge Ronald M. Whyte in San Jose. According to the plea agreement, Mr. Sherman, a freelance film critic for the Boston Herald and other publications, admitted selling advance copies of over one hundred movies to a known warez supplier between May 2002 and June 2005. For details on the previous 30 convictions, click here for the June 20, 2006 press release.
Additionally, Judge Whyte sentenced the following four individuals yesterday for their involvement in criminal copyright infringement.
The sentences are the result of Operation Copycat, an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office targeting online "warez" groups that illegally distribute newly-released movies, games, software and music. Warez groups are the "first-providers" of copyrighted works to the warez underground - the so-called "release" groups that operate as the original sources for a majority of the pirated works distributed and downloaded via the Internet. Once a warez release group prepares a stolen work for distribution, the material is distributed in minutes to secure, top-level warez servers throughout the world. From there the pirated works are distributed globally within a matter of hours, filtering down to peer-to-peer and other public file sharing networks accessible to anyone with Internet access.
Since September 26, 2005, thirty-two individuals have been convicted as part of Operation Copycat. The convictions have included the first under two new copyright statutes, including a new "camming" statute (unauthorized recording of motion pictures in a motion picture exhibition facility) and a new statute for uploading pre-releases on the Internet (criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work on a computer network). Other individuals have been convicted for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which focuses on circumventing copy and access security measures (in contrast to infringement or the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works), and have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit criminal copyright infringement and to violating the NET Act.
Mark Krotoski is the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit who is prosecuting the case with the support Legal Assistants Mimi Lam and Lauri Gomez. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and paralegal Alicia Chin are overseeing the asset forfeiture matters on the case.