Man jailed for pirating movies while under house arrest

The Ohio man was serving a home detention sentence when he started a file-sharing site

A 22-year-old Ohio man has been sentenced to 29 months in prison for selling counterfeit movies online while serving a home detention sentence, the US Department of Justice said.

Richard Humphrey of North Ridgeville, Ohio, was sentenced Tuesday in US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the agency said.

Judge Lesley Wells also ordered Humphrey to give up computers and related hardware used to copy and sell the products. Humphrey pleaded guilty in Cleveland on September 21 to one count of criminal copyright infringement for selling pirated movies prior to their commercial release through a website.

Between December 2006 and October 2007, Humphrey operated the subscription website, USAwarez.com, the DOJ said. Humphrey was serving a home detention sentence for unrelated charges when he started the file-sharing site, according to court documents.

Thousands of unauthorised copies of movies, computer games and other software products were available at the site, court documents said. Humphrey charged subscriptions for access to some of the pirated materials and also asked for donations to help run the site, the DOJ said. Beginning in mid-2007, Humphrey offered a VIP subscription to his site for US$16 a year, court documents said.

In his guilty plea, Humphrey said he infringed the copyright of materials worth between $10,000 and $30,000.

US Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seized two personal computers and other hardware from Humphrey while executing a search warrant at his residence. The FBI also seized Humphrey's server, located at an internet service provider, the DOJ said.

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