TRENTON . A programming and information technology manager today admitted to distributing pirated copies of copyright-protected computer software, computer games, movies and music with a retail value over $2.2 million, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced. James Remy, 40, of Washington Twp. in Mercer County, entered his plea to a one-count Information charging criminal copyright infringement before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper. Judge Cooper scheduled sentencing for March 17, 2004 at 1:00 p.m. Remy is an employee with an East Brunswick graphic design and printing company. According to the Information, from Oct. 26, 2000 through July 24, 2001, Remy hosted a warez server at his residence. “Warez” is a generic name for pirated copyright-protected works. A “warez server” is a computer containing pirated, cracked or unauthorized copies of copyright-protected works such as business application software, utility software, computer games, console games, movies and music that are available for download by individuals to whom access is granted. At his plea hearing, Remy admitted that during this nine-month period, his warez server contained copyright-protected business application software, utility software, computer games, console games, movies and music, including Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Symantec Norton AntiVirus, Symantec Norton Utilities, Symantec pcAnywhere, Intuit Quicken, Microsoft Visual Basic, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Autodesk AutoCAD. Remy admitted that he granted individuals access to the contents of his warez server with the understanding and expectation that these individuals would download unauthorized copies of the copyright-protected works. Furthermore, Remy admitted that the individuals to whom he had granted access downloaded thousands of unauthorized copies of copyright-protected works stored within his warez server.
Remy also admitted that during the entire nine month period that his warez server was operational, the downloads of unauthorized copies of the copyright-protected works had a total retail value of $2,242,712. There is no evidence that Remy received payment for the downloads of the pirated copies, noted Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Christie. This case arises out of an FBI undercover operation known as “Cybernet”, which targeted individuals operating File Transfer Protocol warez sites on the Internet. Specifically, Cybernet targeted over a dozen individuals nationwide who were operating in the Usenet newsgroup “alt.2600.warez” and various Internet relay chat channels dedicated to the trafficking of warez. The undercover operation sought out violators of the No Electronic Theft (“NET”) Act, a 1997 law which makes it illegal to reproduce or distribute on a large scale copyrighted works, even if the defendant acts without a commercial purpose or for private financial gain. The NET Act was enacted by Congress to combat the growing threat of piracy over the Internet in light of the realization that a significant amount of online criminal copyright infringement involves the free downloading of pirated software, games, movies and music. “This case makes it clear that the free online distribution of pirated software, games, movies and music is not a victimless crime. The financial loss caused by one individual to an industry can be staggering. This Office will continue to aggressively pursue those individuals who engage in such conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie. “The Remy case stands as the largest loss nationwide in a criminal copyright infringement case resulting from conviction of a warez site operator who is not part of an organized group,” stated Assistant U.S. Attorney Christie. In the filing of an felony Information, a defendant waives the right to have his or her case presented to a federal grand jury and, instead, pleads guilty to charges presented by the government. Remy faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the criminal copyright charge. Judge Cooper also could order the defendant to pay restitution and the costs of prosecution, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Christie. Under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Cooper will determine Remy’s actual sentence based on a formula that takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history, if any. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Under Sentencing Guidelines, defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time. U.S. Attorney Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI, assigned to the Cybercrime Squad at the FBI Washington Field Office, under the direction of Assistant Director in Charge Michael A. Mason, with conducting the Cybernet undercover operation and developing the case against Remy.
U.S. Attorney Christie also thanked the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), a joint FBI Headquarters and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement entity; and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) for their assistance in the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Christie of the U.S. Attorney’s Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section in Newark.
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