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Federal Criminal Conviction Given To P2P Network Operator

The Department of Justice said this is the first time a federal jury has handed down a criminal conviction for P2P copyright infringement.
The Motion Picture Association of America has proclaimed victory with a criminal conviction against a peer-to-peer Web site operator.

A federal jury convicted 26-year-old Daniel Dove of EliteTorrents.org, a site that distributes movies before their official release. Dove's conviction on charges of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement marks the eighth successful prosecution stemming from a national crackdown on sites that distribute copyrighted content through P2P networks. It's the first time a federal jury has handed down a criminal conviction for P2P copyright infringement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prosecutors said Dove recruited a small group of EliteTorrents members with high-speed Internet connections and served as an administrator as they uploaded pirated content. They said he operated a high-speed server to distribute content through BitTorrent technology.

Investigators who participated in "Operation D-Elite" uncovered evidence showing EliteTorrents had more than 125,000 members and promoted distribution of about 700 movies, which were downloaded more than 1.1 million times.

Dove will face sentencing Sept. 9. He could spend up to 10 years in prison.

Dove's conviction "sends a clear message that when presented with clear-cut evidence, jurors have little tolerance for the willful, deliberate, and widespread distribution of protected content," said Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the MPAA.

"The MPAA commends the federal jury in Big Stone Gap, Va., for their thoughtful deliberations in this case and for valuing the protection of intellectual property in the United States," he said.

FBI field officers in San Diego and Richmond, Va., worked with the cybercrime fraud unit of the FBI's cyberdivision in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Department of Justice's computer crime and intellectual property section to investigate the case. Attorneys from the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted it, with assistance from attorneys from the Western District of Virginia.