TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Elite Computer Pirates Plead Guilty in Bootlegging Crackdown

Elite Computer Pirates Plead Guilty in Bootlegging Crackdown

Monty Solomon (
Thu, 10 Mar 2005 07:27:50 -0500

By Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writer | March 8, 2005

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Three top members of a global computer piracy
network admitted Thursday that they shuttled millions of dollars in
computer games, movies and software around the world through a coded
system of Web sites and chat rooms.

The men pleaded guilty in U.S. District court to federal copyright
charges, becoming the first Americans convicted in what the Justice
Department said was the largest-ever investigation of software piracy.

All said they made no money off the conspiracy and U.S. Attorney Kevin
O'Connor said they considered themselves "the Robin Hoods of

But investigators said the bootlegged software ended up on the streets
of foreign countries, selling for pennies on the dollar.

The investigation -- dubbed "Operation Higher Education" because many
pirates use computers at universities -- spanned across the United
States and about a dozen foreign countries. FBI agents in New Haven
said the case broke open when they infiltrated the clandestine "warez"
community on the Internet.

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