News and Press Releases

Downloaded pirated copies of movies, video games and software

August 14, 2006

RYAN PORTER, 31, of Raymond, Washington pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Criminal Copyright Infringement by Electronic Means, and Aiding an Abetting. PORTER is the 33rd person to plead guilty in connection with “Operation Copycat,” an undercover investigation targeting online “warez” groups illegally distributing 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. PORTER faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced on November 17, 2006 by U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman.

Since July 14, 2005, thirty-seven people have been charged and thirty-three people (including two film critics) have pleaded guilty in connection with the undercover investigation of the “warez” groups. 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. In court documents PORTER admits downloading sixty-eight copyrighted works including Star Wars movies, Microsoft and McAfee Software, and video games such as Medal of Honor and Grand Theft Auto. In court today PORTER said he downloaded the materials for his personal use.

PORTER was originally charged in the Northern District of California as part of a continuing FBI investigation known locally as Operation Copycat, which involved the execution of more than 40 searches nationwide on June 29, 2005. Operation Copycat is the local and largest part of the coordinated international law enforcement action known as Operation Site Down, which is targeting online piracy. Mark L. Krotoski is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case in California. PORTER’s case was transferred to the Western District of Washington where Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Warma is handling the prosecution.

Click Here for more information on Operation Site Down.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110 or Luke Macaulay, Public Affairs Officer for the Northern District of California at (415) 436-6757.

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