[ISN] Officials unseal piracy records
isn at c4i.org
Wed Dec 29 01:31:40 EST 2004
By Brian Sharp
Iowa City Press-Citizen
December 24, 2004
An Iowa City man who admitted to pirating copyrighted software then
distributing it online is personally responsible for as much as
$200,000 in losses to the industry, according to federal records
Jathan Desir, 26, became the first person convicted as part of
"Operation Fastlink,"  a multi-national investigation launched in
April. Records show one of the two online libraries he helped create
totaled 13,000 titles before FBI agents arrived at his home this
Desir, registered as a student at the University of Iowa, waived
indictment and pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Des
Moines. He faces a maximum 15 years in prison on felony counts of
copyright infringement and conspiracy. Sentencing is set for March 18.
He was part of the "warez scene," an underground network of
individuals and organized groups that compete in the market of
large-scale, illegal dissemination of protected software. Members gain
access to copyrighted material, often before its release, crack the
digital protections and put it online for others to access, reproduce
or pass along.
According to federal court records:
In January 2003, Desir and others set up an online library for a
private group to share movies, games, utility software and music. The
library grew to about 13,000 titles by the time of the federal raid in
Transfer logs obtained from the computer service show Desir
transferred numerous titles between Aug. 16, 2003, and April 2, 2004.
Records show he copied and distributed at least 10 items every six
months. He accessed the system from his Iowa City home, records show.
No address was provided.
On April 21, FBI agents executed a search warrant at his residence,
seizing six personal computers, various computer components and
equipment as well as computer games and software. Desir cooperated
with authorities from the beginning, even signing a statement
detailing his activities. He also has admitted to creating a second
library federal agents seized in California.
The search of Desir's residence was part of "Operation Fastlink,"
which targeted the underground community's hierarchy with agents
conducting more than 120 searches within 24 hours in 27 states and 11
foreign countries. At the time, authorities identified nearly 100
people as leaders or high-ranking members of international piracy
Business Software Alliance, which represents several software
manufacturers, examined the two computer servers linked to Desir and
reported that each contained client titles exceeding $2,500 in retail
value. The $2,500 value is a benchmark in the federal criminal code.
Desir's sentence, once imposed, may still be reduced if he complies
with all aspects of the plea agreement and assists in the
investigation and prosecution of one or more others identified in the
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