The Department of Justice (DoJ) tightened the noose around warez
dealers Friday with the first sentencing of individuals for their Internet
music piracy activities.
George S. Hayes, 31, of Danville, Va., was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Hayes pleaded guilty to one count of criminal copyright infringement related
to his involvement with the pre-release music group called “Chromance.”
Aaron O. Jones, 30, of Hillsboro, Ore., was sentenced to six months in
prison and six months of home confinement. Derek A. Borchardt, 22, of
Charlotte, N.C., received six months of home confinement.
Jones and Borchardt each pleaded guilty to a single felony count of
conspiracy to commit copyright infringement for their work with the warez
group “Apocalypse Crew.”
Warez dealers are the first providers of copyrighted materials that are
illegally released on the Internet. Warez releases make up the majority of
downloaded pirated works.
“Federal law enforcement is dedicated to prosecuting online piracy in all
forms,” U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said in a statement. “These sentences
are part of a concerted federal effort to ensure that pirates cannot hide
behind the perceived anonymity of the Internet.”
The sentences were the first for those arrested in the DoJ’s Operation
FastLink, an ongoing federal crackdown against organized online piracy.
According to the DoJ, Operation FastLink has resulted in more than 120
search warrants executed in 12 countries and the confiscation of hundreds of
computers and illegal distribution hubs.
To date, the program has yielded 30 felony convictions.