Three US men have been sentenced to jail or home confinement for their participation in so-called warez online piracy groups, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.
The three men were sentenced Friday on copyright-infringement charges for being leading members of warez groups, which illegally post music files online before they are released to the public, the DOJ said.
Sentenced to 15 months in jail was George S. Hayes, 31, of Danville, Virginia, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of criminal copyright infringement related to his involvement in a pre-release music group called Chromance or CHR, the DOJ said. Hayes was sentenced in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Derek A. Borchardt, 22, of North Carolina, and Aaron O. Jones, 30, of Oregon, both pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement for their involvement in the warez group Apocalypse Crew or APC, the DOJ said.
Jones was sentenced to six months in prison and six months home confinement and Borchardt was sentenced to six months home confinement by the Virginia court.
These are the first federal criminal sentences for members of pre-release music groups resulting from Operation FastLink, an ongoing US Federal Bureau of Investigation crackdown against organized piracy groups allegedly responsible for most of the initial illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games and music on the Internet.