Wednesday, August 29, 2012

IMAGiNE Movie Pirate Walks Plank

Seller Of Tens Of Thousands Of Pirated Movies Pleads Guilty
A Virginia man, a member of the notorious IMAGiNE Group, an organized online piracy group, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to willfully reproduce and distribute tens of thousands of infringing copies of copyrighted works without permission, including infringing copies of movies before they were commercially released on DVD.

Jeramiah B. Perkins, 39, of Portsmouth, Va., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The plea was entered before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tommy E. Miller in the Eastern District of Virginia. At sentencing, scheduled for Jan. 3, 2013, Perkins faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release.

Perkins directed and participated in using receivers and recording devices in movie theaters to secretly capture the audio sound tracks of copyrighted movies and then synchronized the audio files with illegally recorded video files to create completed movie files suitable for sharing over the Internet among members of the IMAGiNE Group and others. 

Perkins was indicted on April 18, 2012, along with three other leading members of the IMAGiNE Group, an organized online piracy group seeking to become the premier group to first release Internet copies of new movies only showing in theaters.

According to court documents, Perkins and his co-conspirators sought to illegally obtain and disseminate digital copies of copyrighted motion pictures showing in theaters. Perkins admitted he took the lead in renting computer servers in France and elsewhere for use by the IMAGiNE Group. 

He also admitted he registered domain names for use by the IMAGiNE Group, and opened e-mail and PayPal accounts to receive donations and payments from persons downloading or buying IMAGiNE Group releases of pirated copies of motion pictures and other copyrighted works. 

Perkins also admitted the IMAGiNE Group’s conduct resulted in a readily provable and reasonably foreseeable infringement amount of more than $400,000.

Co-defendants Sean Lovelady, Willie Lambert and Gregory Cherwonik each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement on May 8, 2012, June 22, 2012, and July 10, 2012, respectively.

This case is part of efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force) to stop the theft of intellectual property. Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force "to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work."

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