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Net music pirate faces years in prison


By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
August 21, 2003, 5:55 PM PT
http://news.com.com/2100-1027-5066894.html

The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday that it accepted a guilty plea in a criminal copyright case
involving the former leader of a Net music piracy group called the Apocalypse Crew.

The defendantin the case, 21-year-oldMark Shumeker,faces a maximumprisonsentenceof five years and a
maximumfine of $250,000. Shumaker helped coordinatethe supplyand release of albumsonlinebefore theyhit
retailstoresand ran the ApocalypseCrew's Intemet Relay Chat (IRC) channel, federal investigatorscharged.

"This plea showsthat thosewhosteal copyrightedmusicfrom artistsand believethey are doingso anonymously
on the Internetare sadlymistaken,"U.S. attorney PaulMcNultysaidin a statement."We canfind you,we willfind
you, end we willprosecuteyou."

Shumaker'scase, part of the long-runningOperationBuccaneerfederal antipiracyinvestigations,is believedto be


the first involvingcriminalpenaltiesspecificallyfor online musictrading, e Departmentof Justicespokeswoman
said. Buccaneerhas targetedmany other individuals,however,and has resultedin morethan 22 convictionsof
felony copyrightinfringementinvolvingsoftwarepiracygroupssuchas Drinkor Die, prosecutorssaid.

RaymondGriffiths,an Australiancomputeruserallegedto be a leader of DrinkorDie, is the subjectof extradition


requests from the U.S. government. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on all the charges against him.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which is in the process of issuing subpoenas for the
identities of jndividua! file swappers as a prelude to filing civil copyright infringement suits, welcomed news of the
guilty plea.

"The theft of music on the lnternet is a serious crime, and this action shows that the Justice Department means
business," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a statement. "Those who egregiously distribute music on the
Interrlet should take note--federal prosecution and jail time are real possibilities."

Shumaker will be sentenced in federal court on Nov. 7.

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