Federal judge sentences New Orleans movie, music pirate to one year in prision

MUMBAI: A New Orleans man has pled guilty to two counts of copyright infringement in U.S. District Court in Louisiana and was sentenced last week to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine. The defendant, Tanner Hill, was arrested in March by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office for offering counterfeit DVDs and CDs for sale. The case was referred to the FBI and prosecuted federally.

"This case should serve as an important example to those producing and distributing pirate goods that the criminal justice system has little tolerance for intellectual property crimes and that the Federal Government will not hesitate to prosecute these criminals for their illegal activities," said Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) executive vice president and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations John Malcolm.

"Cases involving the theft of creative content come both big and small. But even the seemingly small cases involve criminals that are often a part of much larger and dangerous chains of organized crime that pose a threat to not only the creative industries but the economic health and safety of local communities. We commend the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office for their diligence and great work in this case," said Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) executive vice president, anti-piracy Brad Buckles.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s detectives observed the defendant removing multiple duffel bags full of bootleg DVDs and CDs while patrolling a New Orleans apartment complex. Upon further investigation of the defendant’s residence, Sherriff’s detectives recovered more than 6,000 counterfeit DVDs and CDs, multiple burning towers, and supplies for the production and distribution of bootlegged movies and music.

The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lose more than $18 billion annually as a result of movie theft. More than $7 billion in losses are attributed to illegal Internet distributions, while $11 billion is the result of illegal copying and bootlegging.

According to a recent report on music piracy, global theft of sound recordings cost the U.S. economy $12.5 billion in lost revenue and more than 71,000 jobs and $2 billion in wages to U.S. workers.