A federal Indictment returned on April 18, 2012, and unsealed on April 24, 2012, charged:
The maximum prison sentence for the charge of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and for each count of criminal copyright infringement is five years in prison.
NOTE: An Indictment contains mere allegations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Imagine There's No Intellectual Property
The Indictment alleges that the the defendants and their co-conspirators identified themselves as the IMAGiNE Group and sought to become the premier group to first release Internet copies of new movies only showing in theaters. Wow, one can only imagine how thrilled Sony and Disney were with that business plan - instead of first run in the theaters, you get it on your iPad (not exactly purchased through iTunes though).
Allegedly, from September 2009 until September 2011, the defendants obtained separate audio and video for motion pictures showing in theaters, and then edited and combined those components into one infringing movie file, which was shared among thousands of IMAGiNE Group members through the BitTorrent file sharing technology. This enterprise included the rental of computer servers to host websites, forums, message boards - even to get out the word about how members could donate to IMAGiNE. Let's all keep the ball rollin'.
In May 2012, Lovelady pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement in the Eastern District of Virginia. As part of his plea, Lovelady admitted that he went to movie theaters near his California residence 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, Lovelady used software to synchronize the audio file with an illegally obtained video file. Thereafter, voila!, a completed movie file gets shared over the Internet among members of the IMAGiNE Group and others.
Bill Singer's Comment
Okay, anyone else find this reminiscent of Season 8, Episode 4 of "Seinfeld": "The Little Kicks" (air date October 10 1996)? Calling Brody, Kramer, and Jerry. "Death Blow" anyone? How about "Cry, Cry, Again"?
The Motion Picture Association of America asserts that the IMAGiNE Group was the most prolific motion picture piracy release group operating on the Internet from September 2009 through September 2011.
Lovelady, Lambert and Cherwonik, and Perkins each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement on May 8, 2012, June 22, 2012, July 10, 2012, and August 29, 2012, face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised released, and a $250,000 fined.
On September 13, 2012, Javier E. Ferrer, 41, of New Port Richey, FL., was charged in an Information with secretly using a video camera to film copyrighted motion pictures in movie theaters and then synchronizing an audio file to enable Internet sharing of the films.
On November 2, 2012:
On November 29, 2012: