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A major internet piracy conspiracy has been broken up and six men sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from four years to six months on Friday (8th December) at Birmingham Crown Court for offences relating to the manufacture, distribution and sale of pirate DVDs.
The PIR8 web forum facilitated the selling of pirate material to over 13,000 users. The conspirators were involved in the running of and/or the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit films sold via the website and via other outlets.
The Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’) prosecuted the case which followed a three year investigation and prosecution by FACT into the group. Assistance in the investigation was given by the BPI (the record industry trade body) Anti-Piracy Unit.
The following, aged 21 to 37 years old, (with PIR8 usernames) all pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud:
Lee Richard Bennett (‘Mack’), from South Normington, Derbyshire, and the owner of the PIR8 site was sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Barry Jarvis (‘Leafy’), from Johnstown, Wrexham, the website administrator, was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment.
Kevin Bowles (‘Taz’), from Doncaster, but living in Darlington at the time of the offences received a one year jail sentence.
Robert Chester (‘Killalot’), from Eastbourne, Sussex, also a received one year jail sentence.
Jason Morgan (‘Monkfish’),from Lanchester, Co. Durham and Christopher Pomroy (‘Trinity’), from Stretford, Greater Manchester were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.
Karl Smith (‘Toon’), from Peterlee, Co. Durham and Marcus Jones, from Brynteg, Anglesey,were sentenced to 240 hours Community Punishment Orders.
Adrian Hodgson (‘Eda), from Kingston Upon Hull, was sentenced to 200 hours Community Punishment Order.
Also sentenced was Paul Bowes, from Co. Durham, who was not part of the conspiracy but pleaded guilty to manufacturing pirate DVDs. He was sentenced to 150 hours’ Community Punishment Order.
The judge’s comments made it clear that this was a groundbreaking case. He noted that this was the first case of its kind to come before the UK criminal courts and that his sentencing included a strong deterrent element.