KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to copyright infringement by using his computer to create counterfeit DVDs, CDs, computer software and video games.
Martinis Woods, 30, of Kansas City, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to a federal information that charges him with copyright infringement.
“Selling pirated DVDs and CDs is not a victimless crime,” Wood said. “The defendant stole this intellectual property from its rightful owner, just as another thief might steal property from a home or money from a bank. Copyright violations cause significant economic harm to a number of victims, from the artist to the production company to the retailer. When widespread abuse of copyrights causes prices to rise, consumers pay the consequences.”
Woods admitted that, between June 19 and Dec. 21, 2004, he infringed on the copyrights of motion pictures, computer software, video games and audiovisual works for personal financial gain by reproducing and distributing at least 1,854 copies of movie DVDs, music CDs and computer software with a total retail value of more than $36,000. Woods admitted that he reproduced approximately 100 discs per week of copyrighted works. Woods would make up to 10 copies of protected works at one time using his personal computers and computer equipment. Woods accessed his personal computers remotely over the Internet from his place of work to burn copies. Then he affixed counterfeit labels to the discs and sold them to friends, coworkers and others, sometimes charging $10 per DVD and sometimes selling two for $10.
On Dec. 21, 2004, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized various computer hardware and equipment from Wood’s home, along with a large cache of counterfeit goods. Included were 1,296 DVDs, 483 CDs, 74 computer software programs and a Sony Playstation game.
Among the DVD titles that Woods reproduced and distributed without the authorization of the copyright holders were “The Bourne Supremacy,” “Van Helsing,” “Blade Trinity,” “Harry Potter, The Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Mean Girls,” “Mulan,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Punk’d,” “Shrek 2”and “Troy.”
By pleading guilty today, Woods also agreed to forfeit to the government two computer towers, DVD burners, and other computer and electronic equipment that was used to commit the offense, as well as 1,296 counterfeit DVDs, 483 counterfeit CDs, 74 counterfeit computer software programs and 51 CD/DVD labels.
Under federal statutes, Woods could be subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.