RealTime IT News

Feds Charge Five More in Warez Crackdown

Five more individuals are facing criminal copyright charges as part of the Department of Justice's (DoJ) ongoing crackdown on warez dealers.

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.

Thursday's charges stem from raids last June -- Operations Fastlink and SiteDown -- that the DoJ says resulted in breaking up eight warez rings and seizing pirated works estimated at $50 million.

Kevin Fuchs, 25, of West Amherst, N.Y., and Cuong Quoc Trang, 35, of Parker, Colo., were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and copyright infringement.

Also charged were Matthew Alderman, 24, of Ashland, Ore.; David Morvant, 35, of Thibodaux, La.; and Michael Hays, 51, of Delafield, Wis.

Alderman is charged with criminal copyright infringement while Morvant and Hays face charges of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

According to the DoJ, Operations FastLink and Site Down are the two largest and most aggressive international enforcement actions against criminal organizations involved in the illegal online distribution of copyrighted material.

The operations have resulted in more than 200 search warrants executed in 16 countries with the confiscation of hundreds of computers and illegal online distribution hubs.

"Large-scale operations like FastLink and SiteDown strike at the core of online piracy," Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said in a statement.

"Losses to industry and individuals from online piracy are enormous, and law enforcement will continue to do everything it can to protect valuable copyrighted products and shut down these illegal distribution networks."

Operation FastLink has yielded 28 felony convictions to date while Operation SiteDown has resulted in 53 individuals being charged and 23 individuals convicted of felony offenses.