US man pleads guilty to music piracy charges

The California member of a warez group faces up to five years in prison, the DOJ says

A California man who participated in a so-called warez music-sharing group faces a sentence of five years in prison and a US$250,000 fine after pleading guilty to copyright infringement charges in a California court.

Richard Franco Montejano, 29, of Harbor City, California, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

From 2002 to September 2007, Montejano was a member and leader of an Internet music release group known as Old School Classics or OSC, the DOJ said. OSC was a warez group that specialized in the unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyright music using the Internet, the agency said.

Warez groups are music piracy organizations that seek to release music before it is commercially available. Warez groups share pre-release music with similar groups and with a wider audience through peer-to-peer networks, the DOJ said.

Montejano maintained a computer server at his Harbor City residence and allowed other OSC members to upload pirated music there, the DOJ said in a press release. A member of OSC uploaded the Kanye West album "Graduation" to Montejano's server in August 2007, more than one week before the album was commercially released. Montejano used his server to upload pirated music to other warez group servers, the agency said.

After the break-up in January 2007 of another warez group known as Rabid Neurosis or RNS, OSC began obtaining pre-release music from two former RNS members known to Montejano as "adeg" and "StJames." Both adeg and StJames, whose names are Bennie Glover and James Anthony Dockery, were employed at a North Carolina factory that manufactured compact discs for Universal Music Group and its subsidiary labels.

Glover and Dockery both pleaded guilty in October 2009 to conspiracy to commit willful copyright infringement. Both defendants were sentenced in January 2010 to three months in prison and two years of supervised release.

Montejano's sentencing is scheduled for July 25.

The case is part of a multiyear federal investigation of organized piracy groups responsible for the illegal distribution of significant amounts of copyright movies, software, games and music through the Internet. The investigation of music piracy groups was led by agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Washington, D.C., area.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Tags U.S. Department of JusticeU.S. Federal Bureau of InvestigationlegalUniversal Music GroupBennie GloverU.S. District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaKanye WestRichard Franco MontejanoCriminalJames Anthony Dockerycopyrightintellectual property

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest News Articles

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?