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Head of piracy ring receives longest-ever prison term for file sharing


A computer screen of Dirk Engling, spokesperson of the Chaos Computer Club, shows the file name (highlighted) of the Trojan spyware allegedly made by the German authorities in the CCC's offices in Berlin on October 12 , 2011. The computer club and German hacker organization claims to have cracked spying software allegedly used by German authorities. The Trojan horse has functions which go way beyond those allowed by German law. The news has sparked a wave of outrage among politicians and media commentators.


Odd Andersen

Jeramiah Perkins, head of theatrical audio piracy ring IMAGiNE, has been sentenced to five years in prison, the longest sentence ever handed to a convicted file sharer in the US.

Perkins, 40, and his co-defendants pled guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement earlier this year following their arrests in 2011.

On Thursday, Perkins was sentenced as the leader of the in-theater recording — or “cam” — ring, which the prosecution argued was the world’s most prolific piracy release group between 2009 and 2011, according to Wired.

"The conspirators informally identified themselves as the IMAGiNE Group and sought, among other things, to be the premier group to first release to the Internet copies of new motion pictures only showing in movie theaters," read the indictment of Perkins and his co-defendents.

"It was further a part of the conspiracy to use computer software to digitally refine and to edit the video and audio portions of a motion picture and to combine or synchronize the two components into audiovisual movie files," the indictment also stated. 

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IMAGiNE was known on the internet for producing some of the highest quality cams of recently released films. To produce such high quality recordings, those involved would record a film’s audio and video separately before syncing the files and releasing it for download online.

During the trial, US Attorney Neil McBride cited a report prepared by the Motion Picture Association of America that claimed IMAGiNE was successful because of the “short latency periods between the theatrical release and their pirated release, their consistently good quality of audio captures, their high volume of releases, and their connection to international suppliers.”

That same report alledged that IMAGiNE was responsible for 41 percent of all instances of English-language theatrical audio piracy between September 2009 and September 2011. 

Renting servers in the US, Canada and France, IMAGiNE distributed their pirated films mostly through bittorrent, on sites including The group funded their piracy with donations made by users and payment from individuals downloading versions of the films, according to the indictment. 

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Some of IMAGiNE’s biggest releases included "Friends With Benefits," "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Avatar."

Perkins’ co-defendants received shorter sentences. Gregory Cherwonik was given 40 months in prison, Sean Lovelady received 23 months, and Willie Lambert was sentenced to 30. A fifth defendant in the case has also been scheduled for sentencing.