Operator of Music Piracy Websites Pleads Guilty to Criminal Copyright Infringement
A North Carolina man pleaded guilty today to reproducing and distributing without permission millions of infringing digital copies of copyrighted works, including copies of popular songs and albums before they were commercially available.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Clark E. Settles of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in Washington, D.C., made the announcement.
Rocky P. Ouprasith, 23, of Charlotte, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal copyright infringement before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller of the Eastern District of Virginia. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17, 2015.
According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, between May 2011 and October 2014, Ouprasith operated RockDizMusic.com, a website originally hosted on servers in France and later in Canada, from which Internet users could find and download infringing digital copies of popular, copyrighted songs and albums. Ouprasith admitted that he obtained digital copies of copyrighted songs and albums from online sources, and that he encouraged and solicited others, referred to as “affiliates,” to upload digital copies of copyrighted songs and albums to websites, including RockDizFile.com, that were hosted on servers in Russia, France and the Netherlands, and that hosted hyperlinks to content being offered for download on RockDizMusic.com. Ouprasith further admitted that to encourage such activity, he agreed to pay the affiliates based on the number of downloads from his website.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, in 2013, RockDizFile.com was the second-largest online file sharing website specializing in the reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted music in the United States. Ouprasith admitted that, in 2013 and 2014, he either ignored or pretended to take remedial action in response to complaints from copyright holders and their representatives that the website contained links to infringing copies protected songs and albums.
In October 2014, federal law enforcement authorities shut down RockDizMusic.com and RockDizFile.com, and law enforcement authorities in the Netherlands and France seized file-hosting servers utilized by Ouprasith.
In connection with his guilty plea, Ouprasith admitted that the market value of his illegally pirated material was more than $2.5 million.
This case is being investigated by ICE-HSI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Chief for Litigation John H. Zacharia of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Stoker of the Eastern District of Virginia. The CCIPS Cyber Crime Lab, the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, as well as Dutch, French and Canadian law enforcement officials have provided significant assistance.
The enforcement action announced today is related to the many efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force). The IP Task Force supports prosecution priorities, promotes innovation through heightened civil enforcement, enhances coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and focuses on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders. To learn more about the IP Task Force, go to www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce.