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IMAGiNE: Once-prolific movie piracy leader slapped with 5 year prison sentence

IMAGiNE leader s gets one of longest sentences ever handed down for criminal copyright infringement.

By Layer 8 on Thu, 01/03/13 - 5:42pm.

The acknowledged leader of once prolific movie piracy group IMAGiNE was sent to prison today for five years, one of the longest sentences ever handed down for criminal copyright infringement.

In addition to his prison term, Jeramiah Perkins, 40, of Portsmouth, Va., was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution.  On Aug. 29, 2012, Perkins pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

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According to the Department of Justice Perkins was indicted along with three other defendants on April 18, 2012, for their roles in the IMAGiNE Group, an organized online piracy ring that sought to become the premier group to first release Internet copies of movies only showing in theaters.  

According to court documents, Perkins directed and participated in using receivers and recording devices in movie theaters to secretly capture the audio sound tracks of copyrighted movies and then synchronized the audio files with illegally recorded video files to create completed movie files suitable for sharing over the Internet via BitTorrent file sharing technology among members of the IMAGiNE Group and others, the DoJ stated.

The DoJ said Perkins admitted to taking the lead in renting computer servers in France and elsewhere for use by the IMAGiNE.  He also admitted he registered domain names for use by the IMAGiNE, and opened e-mail and PayPal accounts to receive donations and payments from persons downloading or buying IMAGiNE releases of pirated copies of motion pictures and other copyrighted works.

According to testimony by a representative of the Motion Picture Association of America, the IMAGiNE Group constituted the most prolific motion picture piracy release group operating on the Internet from September 2009 through September 2011.

Co-defendants Sean Lovelady, Willie Lambert and Gregory Cherwonik each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement on May 9, June 22 and July 11, 2012, respectively. Lambert and Lovelady were sentenced on Nov. 2, 2012, to 30 months and 23 months in prison, respectively. Cherwonik was sentenced on Nov. 29, 2012, to 40 months in prison.  A fifth co-defendant, Javier EFerrer, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement on Nov. 29, 2012.  Ferrer is scheduled to be sentenced on March 14, 2013, according to the DoJ.

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