A man from Columbus, Georgia has pleaded guilty to two felonies connected to the distribution of copyright works via the EliteTorrents BitTorrent tracker, which was shut down by the FBI in 2005. As a major uploader he faces 5 years in jail plus a $250,000 fine.
In another episode of the on-going action named Operation D-Elite which brought down the EliteTorrents network in 2005, Sam Kuonen, 24 was charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and actual criminal copyright infringement.
According to the DOJ Kuonen has pleaded guilty to both counts and is facing five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. The criminal charges suggest that Kuonen could’ve been the uploader of the pre-released Star Wars: Episode III, which under US law is a criminal action breaching the Family Entertainment Act 2005. So far in the US, only uploaders who distribute movies that are still in theaters have had criminal charges brought against them.
There have been four previous convictions relating to activity at EliteTorrents including those of Scott McCausland and Grant Stanley who both collected a punishment of several months in jail.
In May 2005, Federal Agents assisted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), first infiltrated and then shutdown EliteTorrents, a BitTorrent tracker with more than 130,000 members. They took down the server and left this message, which was viewed more than 500,000 times in the week following the raid;
Sam Kuonen will be sentenced July 16 in the U.S. District Court for Kansas.