Camcording Warez Dealer Bagged by Feds


Federal officials scored their first arrest Wednesday under a newly enacted
law prohibiting the recording of movies in theaters. The arrest is part of a wider Department of Justice (DoJ) campaign against major online distributors of
illegal software, music, movies and games.


Curtis Salisbury, 19, of St. Charles, Mo., was charged in a five-count
indictment claiming he used a camcorder in movie theaters to copy recent
theatrical releases. He then uploaded the copies to a computer network for
distribution.


In addition to the movies The Perfect Man and Bewitched,
Salisbury is accused of illegally downloading the movie Madagascar
and software programs from Sony and Adobe.


According to the indictment issued in San Jose, Calif., Salisbury
communicated with others about how to remove identifying features on a film
that reveal the originating theater of a particular film. Additionally, he
allegedly discussed receiving payment for the films that he would provide.


“Camcording movies in theaters for online distribution is a crime,” U.S.
Attorney Kevin V. Ryan said in a statement. “This case represents the
first prosecution under the Family Entertainment Copyright Act, and
demonstrates that the U.S. Attorney’s Office … will aggressively employ the
tools provided by Congress and the president to combat the theft of
intellectual property.”


President Bush signed the new bill on April 27. One part of that statute,
known as the ART Act (Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005),
criminalizes the use of recording equipment to make copies of movies in
movie theaters.


Salisbury is charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of copyright
infringement for distributing a copyrighted work on a computer network, as well as two counts of unauthorized recording of motion pictures in a motion picture
exhibition facility.


The maximum penalty for each count of the first three counts is five years
in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The harshest penalty for each
count of camcording a movie is three years in prison and a maximum fine of
$250,000.


The indictments also include a criminal forfeiture and destruction
allegation to forfeit and destroy recording equipment and unauthorized
copies.


Salisbury’s arrest and indictment is part of a continuing investigation
known in Northern California as Operation Copycat. To date, the campaign has
resulted in five indictments and the execution of more than 40 search
warrants nationwide.


Operation Copycat is part of a larger, coordinated international law
enforcement action known as Operation Site Down, which is targeting online
piracy.


In July, the DoJ announced the
indictments of eight individuals for criminal copyright infringement under
Operation Site Down. The anti-piracy sweeps resulted in more than 200 search
warrants executed in 15 countries and the confiscation of hundreds of
computers and illegal online distribution hubs.


According to the DoJ, the busts netted more than $100 million worth of
illegally copied materials.

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