United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Two Seattle Area Men Charged With Criminal Copyright Infringement
Men Operated Website Selling Downloads of Pirated Movies, Software and TV Shows
Two Western Washington men were arrested today on a two count federal criminal complaint charging them with criminal copyright infringement, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. SANG JIN KIM, 36, of Everett, Washington, and EUGENE YI, 41, of Bothell, Washington, were arrested this morning. KIM will make his initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 2:30 today in front of Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida. According to the complaint, the men operate websites which sell pirated copies of movies, television shows, software and workout DVDs. Some of the pirated materials are television shows illegally downloaded from Korean broadcasters. The programs were marketed to the Korean community in the United States. Two websites, with the domain names 82movie.com and 007disk.com and the servers that support them, were seized today as part of the law enforcement effort. The sites are operated by a company owned by KIM, World Multimedia Group Incorporated.
“Stealing the intellectual property of others harms our economy and threatens American jobs,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “These defendants allegedly used a variety of methods to line their own pockets by stealing and selling other people’s work. Their actions undermine the businesses that are struggling to rebound in tough economic times. Just last month President Obama signed trade agreements with South Korea to commit our countries to fighting this digital piracy.”
According to the criminal complaint, a source in Seoul, Korea first alerted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that World Multimedia Group Inc. based in Lynnwood, Washington was illegally distributing large amounts of copyrighted material over the internet. An investigation by HSI, involving the use of undercover officers, revealed the company and its key officers were knowingly posting movies, TV shows, videos and software for download on their websites, without obtaining the rights to any of the materials. The websites required users to pay them a fee for the downloads, thus profiting by selling pirated material. In interviews with undercover agents posing as interested buyers for the website, KIM said movie companies frequently contacted him about the movies on his site. KIM said when he got these complaints he simply removed them for a period of time. However, KIM said he would put the movies back up a few weeks later. A review by investigators showed that some of the movies on the site were available for download while still showing in theatres and many had not been released on DVD.
“These arrests send a clear message to website operators who mistakenly believe it's worth the risk to take copyrighted programming and portray it as their own," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in the Pacific Northwest. “Protecting legitimate business interests is a priority for HSI, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and our law enforcement partners. We are dedicated to protecting the jobs, the income and the tax revenue that disappear when criminals and criminal organizations traffic in stolen content for their own profit.”
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Criminal Copy right infringement is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa. Mr. Barbosa is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) enforcement team.