RealTime IT News

More Warez Dealers Head to Jail

Operation FastLink, the two-year-old FBI undercover investigation targeting organized Internet piracy groups known as warez dealers, claimed two more pirates Wednesday.

David Chen Pui, 27, of Fountain Valley, Calif., and David Lee Pruett, 35, of Auburn, Wash., received prison terms of 18 and 8 months, respectively, for their roles in the software piracy rings.

To date, Operation FastLink has resulted in the conviction of 31 defendants on felony copyright charges. The Department of Justice (DoJ) claims the probe has resulted in seized works estimated at $50 million.

"Software piracy is no small matter. It robs the rightful owners of the value of their property," U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said in a statement. "Software piracy is cyber theft, and the prison sentences given in this case underscore the serious consequences of this crime."

Pui and Pruett each plead guilty to a single felony count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.

Pui was convicted for distributing pirated works from his own and other Internet sites. Pruett was convicted for his involvement in the warez group "Legenda Never Die," or "LND."

The sentencing of Pui and Pruett follow the recent eight-month sentencing of Franklin Edward Littel and Shawn Laemmrich for their roles in the piracy conspiracy.

Operation FastLink initially resulted in 120 search warrants executed in 27 states and 10 foreign countries.

The DoJ characterized the program as the largest multi-national effort ever directed at intellectual property theft.

Warez groups act as first providers of copyrighted works to Internet release groups. The release groups are the original sources for a majority of the pirated works distributed and downloaded via the Internet.