WASHINGTON - A Minnesota woman today pleaded guilty to conspiring to willfully reproduce and distribute hundreds of thousands of infringing copies of copyright-protected karaoke sound recordings that were pre-loaded onto computer hard drives and then sold on eBay and other online auction sites, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Rachel K. Paulose for the District of Minnesota announced today.
Tracy Ann Brock, 43, of Burnsville, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to a one-count felony information charging her with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The plea was entered before United States District Judge David S. Doty. Ms. Brock faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release.
Ms. Brock’s conviction is the first ever criminal conviction for infringing copyrighted karaoke music and is part of the Department of Justice’s broader initiative to combat online auction piracy. From April 2004 and continuing until July 2006, Ms. Brock, as President and co-owner of Star Music, Inc., conspired to reproduce and upload hundreds of thousands of infringing copies of copyright-protected karaoke songs onto hundreds of computer hard drives. During this time, Ms. Brock also conspired to sell these pre-loaded computer hard drives for profit through various entities and websites, including eBay.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents identified Ms. Brock as a suspect and executed a search warrant at her residence in Burnsville, Minnesota, on July 28, 2006. Agents seized large quantities of CDs, computers, and other storage devices used to reproduce, upload, and store the pirated songs onto hard drives, which were then later sold on eBay and other online auction sites.
This case was investigated by the Minnesota Cyber Crimes Task Force, which included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
The case is being prosecuted by John H. Zacharia, Trial Attorney for the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division, with assistance from Francis J. Magill, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota.