Former EliteTorrents Admin Faces 10yrs in Prison

26yo Daniel Dove has become the first person ever to be convicted by a jury for using BitTorrent to illegally distribute copyrighted material.

It was on May 25th, 2005 that federal authorities first busted the famed EliteTorrents BitTorrent tracker site following the pre-release leak of a “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith” workprint.

Called Operation D-Elite, it was part of a nationwide federal crackdown against the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games and music over P2P networks. So far it’s resulted in the convictions of seven former leading members of EliteTorrents. Fellow admins, Scott McCausland, Grant Stanley, Sam Kuonen, and Scott Harvanek, all pleaded guilty to similar charges rather than take their cases to trial.

Now Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich has announced that 26yo Daniel Dove has become the eighth person to have been successfully targeted by the Department of Justice and the first person ever to be convicted after a trial by jury in the US for using BitTorrent to engage in criminal copyright infringement.

A federal jury in Big Stone Gap, Va., convicted Dove, formerly of Clintwood, Va., on one count each of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement.

The jury was presented with evidence that Dove was an administrator of the site’s “Uploaders,” who were responsible for supplying pirated content to the group. The evidence showed that Dove recruited members who had very high-speed Internet connections, usually at least 50 times faster than a typical high-speed residential Internet connection, to become Uploaders. The evidence also showed that Dove operated a high-speed server, which he used to distribute pirated content to the Uploaders.

Dove’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9, 2008 where he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

a nationwide federal crackdown against the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games and music over P2P networks using BitTorrent.

At its height, EliteTorrents attracted more than 125,000 members and distributed about 700 movies, which were downloaded a total of 1.1 million times.

As a former member of the site (it was for journalistic purposes only) I can tell you without hesitation that it certainly was one of the best, if not the best, BitTorrent tracker sites of all time.