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May 23, 08

NEWS / MEMBER OF MUSIC PIRACY GROUP CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY


ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Barry Gitarts, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was convicted today by
a jury in the Eastern District of Virginia of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright
infringement, announced U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Chuck
Rosenberg and Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division. U.S.
District Court Judge Liam O’Grady will sentence Gitarts on Aug. 8, 2008. Gitarts faces
up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release as well
as being required to make full restitution.
According to the testimony and evidence presented at trial, Gitarts was a significant
member of the Internet music piracy group Apocalypse Production Crew (APC) from at
least June 2003 through April 2004. Records and testimony introduced at trial showed
that Gitarts, using the alias “Dextro,” paid for and administered a computer server located
in Texas that APC group members used to upload and download hundreds of thousands
of copies of pirated music, movies, software and video games. Evidence also showed
that Gitarts received payment from the leader of APC.
Testimony showed that APC acted as a “first-provider” or “release group” of pirated
content on to the Internet. Release groups are the original sources for a majority of the
pirated works distributed and downloaded via the Internet. Once a group prepares a
stolen work for distribution, the material is distributed in minutes to secure computer
servers throughout the world.
U.S. Attorney Rosenberg stated, “Music piracy is stealing and, unless you want to end up
in a federal prison, don’t do it.”
The case is part of an ongoing federal crackdown against the organized piracy groups
responsible for most of the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games
and music on the Internet. To date, there have been 15 criminal convictions of APC
members and 56 convictions in Operation FastLink, a massive international enforcement
action against organizations involved in the illegal online distribution of copyrighted
material.
To date, Operation FastLink has resulted in more than 200 search warrants executed in 15
countries; the confiscation of hundreds of computers and illegal online distribution hubs;
and the removal of more than 100 million dollars worth of illegally-copied copyrighted
software, games, movies and music from illicit distribution channels. Operation FastLink
is the culmination of multiple FBI investigations, including an investigation into prerelease
music groups led by FBI agents from the Washington Field Office.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay V. Prabhu of the Eastern District
of Virginia and Trial Attorneys Josh Goldfoot and Tyler G. Newby of the Department of
Justice Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

 




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