Four individuals were indicted today by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement for allegedly obtaining and illegally releasing copyrighted music.
Adil R. Cassim, 29, of Granada Hills, Calif.; Bennie Glover, 35, of Shelby, N.C.; Matthew D. Chow, 28, of Missouri City, Texas; and Edward L. Mohan, II, 46, of Baltimore, were charged in the one-count indictment with being high-level members of the music piracy group known as "Rabid Neurosis" or "RNS," which operated from at least 1999 to 2007. According to the indictment, the defendants, led by Cassim for a period of time, allegedly conspired to illegally upload to RNS thousands of copyright protected music files, which were often subsequently reproduced and distributed hundreds of thousands of times.
According to the indictment, RNS was a "first-provider" or "release group" for pirated music and other content to the Internet. Once a group obtains and prepares infringing digital copies of copyrighted works, the copies can then be distributed in a matter of hours to secure computer servers throughout the world. According to the indictment, RNS members were granted access to massive libraries of pirated music, video games, software and movies by gaining a reputation for providing previously unavailable pirated materials. The indictment alleges that t he supply of pre-release music was often provided by music industry insiders, such as employees of compact disc (CD) manufacturing plants, radio stations and retailers, who typically receive advance copies of music prior to its commercial release.
The indictment also alleges that members of RNS, including Glover, illegally procured some of the music the group illegally released before its commercial release date from a CD manufacturing plant in North Carolina. Other members of RNS, including Mohan and Chow, allegedly purchased CDs from retail stores shortly after their commercial release and posted them to the Internet before other piracy groups were able to do so.
If convicted, defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, as well as possible orders of restitution.
In addition to the four defendants charged in the indictment, two additional individuals allegedly involved with the group were each charged by criminal information with one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement: Patrick L. Saunders, 30, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged on Aug. 14, 2009; and James A. Dockery, 39, of Mooresboro, N.C., was charged Sept. 8, 2009. Saunders pleaded guilty on Sept. 8, 2009, before U.S. District Court Judge Gerald B. Lee in the Eastern District of Virginia and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 4, 2009, at 9:00 a.m.
The case is part of a multi-year federal investigation of organized piracy groups responsible for the illegal distribution of significant amounts of copyrighted movies, software, games and music through the Internet. The investigation of music piracy groups was led by agents from the FBI’s Washington Field Office-Northern Virginia Resident Agency.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay V. Prabhu of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Tyler G. Newby of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
An indictment is merely a formal charge by the grand jury. Each defendant is presumed innocent of such charges unless and until proven guilty in federal court.