Feeds

Minicam movie pirate gets record-breaking five years in prison

IMAGiNE crew shares over 12 years in sentences

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A member of the IMAGiNE piracy crew, which specialized in recording and distributing movies filmed in cinemas using camcorders, has received a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to copyright infringement.

Jeramiah Perkins, 40, of Portsmouth, Virginia, is the second-to-last member of the team to be sentenced to prison, and he'll also have to pay $15,000 in restitution and undergo three years of probation on release after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

It's the longest-ever sentence yet awarded for such infractions. Three other IMAGiNE members have been sentenced and another is due in March; so far the crew is sharing over a dozen years in hard time among them.

"IMAGiNE was responsible for more than 40 per cent of all English-language theatrical movie theft," Kate Bedingfield, spokeswoman for the MPAA, told The Register. "This group was the most prolific English-language movie theft group in history, and shutting it down was a huge step forward in helping to reassure consumers that the movies and TV shows they watch online are legitimate and secure, not stolen."

Between 2009 and 2011, the IMAGiNE team posted numerous recordings online of films such as Avatar, Clash of the Titans, and Captain America: The First Avenger [So, no good films then? – Ed]. They recorded the films using video recorders concealed in socks, slurped the audio feeds using theater-supplied equipment to avoid audience noises, then edited the two together.

"I called every local cinema to see what they broadcasted in," Perkins told another member of the team by email in 2010. "I told them a bs sob story bro ... told the manager i had a hearing impaired daughter and she had a phobia about other peoples heads being on there in house equipment so i told them i was going to buy her one, so they would find out and tell me then."

The films were uploaded via servers the group rented in France, Canada, and the US, and the pirate team set up PayPal and email accounts to collect funds from viewers, which they used to pay down server costs and buy new equipment. They also ran an online message board service.

The team gained a reputation for posting films well in advance of full release, and of better quality – although anyone who's seen a cam recording knows that such prints usually have dire audio and video quality. But this also attracted the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force), which began a series of raids in 2010 that took down the group. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.