Gregory Cherwonik has been sentenced to 40 months in prison
for his participation in the IMAGiNE Internet movie piracy operation.
Cherwonik was the third member of the group to be sentenced
for criminal copyright conspiracy, according to the Justice Department. In
addition, Javier Ferrer pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit
criminal copyright infringement, the fifth member of the group to plead guilty.
Cherwonik, Ferrer and others illegally obtained and
distributed digital copies of copyrighted movies while they were showing in
theaters. Such piracy decreases the DVD and VOD market for legal distribution
of new theatrical releases.
According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the
group was the most prolific motion picture piracy operation on the 'net from
September 2009 through September 2011.
Ferrer, whose sentencing is scheduled for March 14, 2013,
faces a maximum of five years in prison.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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