A man from Columbus, Georgia, has pleaded guilty to two felonies related to distribution of copyright materials over a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday.
The plea of Sam Kuonen, 24, is the fifth in a series of convictions arising from the DOJ's Operation D-Elite, an ongoing crackdown against the distribution of movies, software, games and music over P2P networks using the BitTorrent file-sharing technology.
Kuonen was charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and criminal copyright infringement. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the DOJ said. He faces sentencing on 16 July in the US District Court for the District of Kansas.
Operation D-Elite has targeted leading members of a P2P network known as Elite Torrents, the DOJ said in a news release. In its prime, Elite Torrents attracted more than 133,000 members and facilitated the illegal distribution of more than 17,800 titles, which were downloaded over 2 million times, the DOJ said.
The Elite Torrents network often included illegal copies of copyright works before they were available in retail stores or cinemas. Kuonen was an ‘uploader’ to the Elite Torrents network, responsible for supplying the network with the first copy of a particular movie or other title that was then made available to the entire network for downloading, the DOJ said.