August 4, 2005

U.S. charges man in camcorder-piracy crackdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Missouri man is the first to be
indicted under a new federal law that prohibits people from
secretly videotaping movies when they are shown in theaters,
the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

Curtis Salisbury, 19, used a camcorder to make copies of
recent releases "The Perfect Man" and "Bewitched" and then
distributed them through illicit computer networks that
specialize in piracy, the Justice Department said.

A law that took effect in April prohibits such behavior.

Salisbury also downloaded several movies and software
programs from the computer network, the Justice Department

Salisbury, who faces up to 17 years in prison, could not be
reached for comment.

Entertainment-industry insiders and tech-savvy hackers use
"warez" networks, as they're commonly known, to distribute
movies, music and software for free, often before they're
released to the public.

The files then end up on peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa,
where they can be downloaded by millions of people, or burned
onto discs and sold on street corners.

Law enforcement officials say most participants in warez
networks are generally not motivated by profit. In this
instance, Salisbury sought payment for the movies he uploaded,
the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department has targeted warez networks before,
most recently in a June 30 raid that involved more than a dozen

Salisbury, of St. Charles, Missouri, was arrested as part
of that effort. He has been charged with conspiracy and
copyright infringement, along with two violations of the
camcorder law.

Camcorder piracy accounts for over 90 percent of movies
that turn up on the Internet while they're still in theaters,
said the head of a movie-industry trade group.

"The creative works of the entertainment industry belong to
the millions of people who make them and are not for others to
steal or unlawfully distribute," said Dan Glickman, head of the
Motion Picture Association of America.