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ESA supports software pirate punishments
by Jolex Del Pilar
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Several given jail terms and probation for running warez servers.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today supported sentences handed down in California and Connecticut courts, which meted out strong sentences to individuals that were deemed guilty of trading pirated goods on the Internet.
In a trial that concluded February 10 in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, Sean Breen, a 38-year old from Richmond, California, plead guilty to “one count each of copyright infringement and illegal distribution of copyrighted entertainment software products, as well as three counts of mail fraud.” For his “leadership” role in the warez group “Razor1911,” Breen was sentenced to 50 months in prison.
Breen was the subject of an investigation dubbed “Operation Buccaneer,” which was led by agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and agents of the U.S. Secret Service.
Another 15-month investigation, this one termed “Operation Safehaven,” and conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the ICE Cyber Crimes Center, recently saw a trio of people convicted in the U.S. District Court of New Haven, Connecticut.
Terry Katz, age 26, of Yorktown Heights, New York, received a sentence of four years probation, with the first three spent in a half-way house, and a fine of $6,000 for maintaining servers that housed warez material.
Walter Kapechuk, a 55-year old from Schenectady, New York, also received four years probation and a $6,000 fine for his role in running “several” warez servers located at the State University of New York at Albany.
Warren Willsey, age 55, from East Berne, New York, was sentenced to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine, for his role in maintaining the SUNY-Albany servers.
"Pirate activities on the Internet, including those in which these defendants were engaged, cost the entertainment software industry countless dollars each year, harming small and medium sized businesses and their employees," stated Ric Hirsch, ESA senior vice-president for Intellectual Property Enforcement.
--- Jolex Del Pilar