Two members of a group that aspired to be known for being the first to release the latest Hollywood blockbusters onto the world web were sentenced to prison today.
Willie Lambert of Pittson, PA was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release after. He was also order to pay $449,514 in restitution according to a press release from Neil MacBride, the U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Coincidentally, Neil MacBride is the same man who is pressing a separate copyright case against Megaupload and its founder, Kim DotCom.
The other defendant, Sean Lovelady from Pomona, California received 23 months in prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution. They both pleaded guilty to the charges against them earlier this year.
According to a government statement, the case is ‘part of efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force) to stop the theft of intellectual property. Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes.”
In a statement, MacBride called the IMAGiNE Piracy Group of which the defendants were members of, a piracy ring that desired to become the premier group to “first release to the internet copies of movies only showing in theatres.”
The below is a excerpt taken from a government statement:
Â Lovelady and Lambert admitted that they went to movie theatres and secretly used receivers and recording devices to capture the audio sound tracks of copyrighted movies (referred to as “capping”). After obtaining, editing, and filtering audio sound tracks and uploading them to servers utilized by the IMAGiNE Group, Lambert and Lovelady used and attempted to use software to synchronize the audio file with an illegally obtained video file to create a completed movie file suitable for sharing over the Internet among members of the IMAGiNE Group and others.