A jury in Alexandria, Va., rendered a guilty verdict on Thursday (May 22) in the federal prosecution of a Brooklyn man for conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.
According to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Barry Gitarts "was a significant member of Internet music piracy group Apocalypse Production Crew (APC) from at least June 2003 through April 2004."
Records and testimony introduced at trial showed that Gitarts, using the alias "Dextro," paid for and administered a computer server located in Texas that APC group members used to upload and download hundreds of thousands of copies of pirated music, movies, software and videogames.
Testimony showed that APC acted as a "first provider" or "release group" of pirated content on the Internet. Release groups are the original sources for a majority of the pirated works distributed and downloaded on the Internet.
This is the first time a federal prosecution of an online criminal copyright infringement case primarily featuring music has gone to trial, according to the RIAA.
Gitarts now faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release, as well as being required to make full restitution.
"The crimes committed here -- as well as the harm to the music community -- are severe, and so are the consequences," says Brad Buckles, executive VP anti-piracy for the RIAA. "We congratulate and thank the U.S. Attorney's office for its work on this case and the larger crackdown against the Internet piracy rings that are responsible for leaks of pre-release music weeks and sometimes months before retail release."
"Groups like APC that specialize in leaking pre-release music are at the top of the piracy pyramid and the efforts of federal law enforcement have dealt a real blow to these kinds of operations," he continues.