Scott McCausland pleaded guilty today to “conspiracy to commit copyright infringement” and “criminal copyright infringement”. McCausland was a avid member of the “private” BitTorrent tracker Elitetorrents, that was taken down by the FBI, May 2005.
This case is the first BitTorrent related criminal enforcement in the US. 24 year old McCAusland could be sent to prison for a maximum of five years.
The plea was announced by Attorney General Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Buchanan of the Western District of Pennsylvania earlier today. In a response to this case U.S. Attorney Buchanan stated:
“This groundbreaking case demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Justice to prosecute individuals who use new technologies to undermine the copyright laws. It also serves as an example to those who believe that there is anonymity in cyberspace.”
When Elitetorrents was taken down May last year, the frontpage was replaced by this FBI takehome message.
FBI’s Operation D-Elite resulted in the permanent shutdown of the Elitetorrents community. The irony of this case is that it concerns a so called “private tracker” that is believed to be “more anonymous” than public trackers. Strange enough, there is no “we told you so” press release from the MPAA yet, but I bet it wont take long.
McCausland is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12, 2006.