First Article for Jezebel Music

June 5, 2008 at 7:36 am Leave a comment

This article is my first submission to Jezebel Music.

Virginian Jury Convicts Man of Online Copyright Infringement

Congratulate a Virginian jury for quickly finishing the first-ever music pirating trial in two days.

On May 23, the federal jury convicted a man of criminal online copyright infringement, giving music labels a landmark victory against online music sharers. If convicted, Barry Gitarts, 25, faces up to five years in jail, $250,000 in fines and three years of supervised release. Gitarts’ case marks the first instance where an online file sharer could serve jail time for uploading music.

Gitarts played a significant role in a file-sharing group called Apocalypse Production Crew. APC acted as a first release point for online file sharers, hosting yet-to-be-released music, movies, games and software on its servers.

Under the alias “Dextro,” Gitarts administered a server in Texas from at least June 2003 to April 2004. APC’s leader, Mark Shumaker, allegedly paid Gitarts to run the Texan server. The U.S.-based servers helped lead to Gitarts’ conviction, in addition to 15 APC members who have already been convicted of copyright infringement.

By refusing to settle outside of court, Gitarts gives the Recording Industry of America a poignant example of music pirating. Brad Buckles, executive vice president of the RIAA’s anti-piracy division, said “For the first time ever, a criminal online music piracy case went to trial, and the jury rendered a swift and unanimous verdict.”

“The crimes committed here – as well as the harm to the music community – are severe, and so are the consequences,” said Buckles.

Gitarts receives his sentence on August 8, 2008.

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About the Blogger

My name is Ben Benson. I attend the University of Oregon. I will graduate next spring with a degree in public relations from the School of Journalism and Communication.
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