Barry Gitarts is first person ever to have faced pirated music-related criminal copyright infringement charges.
Late last week the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced that it had successfully prosecuted 25yo Brooklyn,NY native Barry Gitarts for conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady will sentence Gitarts on August 8th, 2008, at which time he 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.
The RIAA notes that this is the first time a federal prosecution of an criminal copyright infringement case concerning pirated online music has gone to trial.
“For the first time ever, a criminal online music piracy case went to trial, and the jury rendered a swift and unanimous verdict,” said Brad Buckles, Executive Vice President, Anti-Piracy, RIAA. “The crimes committed here — as well as the harm to the music community — are severe, and so are the consequences. We congratulate and thank the U.S. Attorney’s office for its work on this case and the larger crackdown against the Internet piracy rings that are responsible for leaks of pre-release music weeks and sometimes months before retail release. Groups like APC that specialize in leaking pre-release music are at the top of the piracy pyramid and the efforts of federal law enforcement have dealt a real blow to these kinds of operations.”
Testimony showed that APC acted as a “first-provider” or “release group” of pirated content on to the Internet.
“Music piracy is stealing and, unless you want to end up in a federal prison, don’t do it, ” said US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Chuck Rosenberg.
The case is part of Operation FastLink, an ongoing federal crackdown against organized pre-release piracy groups responsible for most of the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games, and music on the Internet.