Barry Gitarts, 25, was found guilty of criminal copyright infringement on Thursday May 22, 2008, a violation of the NET ACT. Based in Brooklyn, NY, he was part of the APC ("Apocalypse Production Crew"), a piracy group responsible for distributing downloads of pre-release movies, music, software and games.
This is a landmark case as Mr Girarts is the first accused pirate to try his case in front of a jury, according to the RIAA. The trial was held for only three days in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg summed up the result quite simply: "Music piracy is stealing and, unless you want to end up in a federal prison, don't do it."
This trial was a result of the U.S. Justice Departments international effort "Operation Fastlink" that targeted violators of the NET ACT. This act made it a crime to infringe on copyrights for financial gain, illegally distribute $1,000 or more in music within a 6-month period and to distribute any pre-release content. Overall, the operation netted 200 search warrants in 15 countries.
Gitarts faces a up to five years in prison and will be sentences on August 8th 2008.