As proof that the law is taking illegal file-sharing very seriously, Jeramiah Perkins was handed the longest prison sentence ever given in a United States file-sharing case … five years.
According to CNET, Perkins, a 40-year-old man from Portsmouth, Virginia, is said to have been the head of a group that went to theaters, camcorded the movies, recorded the audio, synched the files, and then distributed the product on the Internet. The group, known as IMAGiNE, became one of the most prolific piracy release groups in the world between 2009 and 2011.
IMAGiNE’s indictment read:
“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. 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.”
One of IMAGiNE’s goals was to make movies available before the public release of the DVDs.
IMAGiNE rented servers in France, Canada, and the U.S. and hosted several Web sites, such as “unleashthe.net.” The Web sites included member profiles, a torrent tracker, discussion forums, a message board, news, and rules.
The group received money through donations and payments from the people downloading the copyrighted works.
U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen passed the five-year sentence onto Perkins on January 3.
According to Tom’s Guide, five other members of Perkins’ group were also found guilty and have consequently been handed prison sentences for being involved in IMAGiNE.
Co-defendant Gregory Cherwonik received 40 months in prison and Sean Lovelady was given 23 months. Willie Lambert is another member of the group that received a 30-month sentence.
The fifth defendant is set to be sentenced in March.