MP3 pirates convicted

An Oregon student has become the first person to be convicted under the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act in the United States.

Jeffrey Levy admitted illegally distributing MP3 files, film clips and branded software, reportedly worth in excess of US $70,000, from his “warez” website.

Levy will not be having much fun during the next couple of years.  He was given 2 years probation and restrictions have been placed on his ability to access the Internet.  Worse still, routine pre-trial drug tests revealed traces of marijuana and Levy now faces, as part of his sentence, periodic urine tests.

If Levy had not agreed to plead guilty, he could have faced up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.

Levy was caught after systems administrators at the University of Oregon noticed a large volume of traffic passing through his site (1.7 gigabytes of data were transmitted over several hours). The NET Act renders the unlawful distribution of copyright works a criminal offence, whether the works are sold or given away free.

It is not just the Americans who are taking internet piracy seriously.  A French court has sentenced two men to three months in prison and fined them FF100,000 for copyright infringement.  The pair had operated “deep links” to illegal MP3 files.   The case is reported to be the first time that criminal convictions have been obtained for internet piracy in Europe.

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