Jury convicts Web site operator in P2P case

First P2P user convicted by a jury of copyright infringement in the US

A former administrator at EliteTorrents.org has been convicted of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement in a Virginia court, the first time in the US that a peer-to-peer user has been convicted by a jury of copyright infringement, the US Department of Justice revealed Friday.

Daniel Dove, 26, formerly of Clintwood, Virginia, faces a maximum sentence in prison for his participation in EliteTorrents.org, a Web site that specialized in releasing copyright works without authorization, the DOJ said. EliteTorrents, which ceased operating in May 2005, used BitTorrent peer-to-peer technology to distribute pirated copies of movies, software, music and video games, the DOJ said.

A jury in US District Court for the Western District of Virginia was presented with evidence that Dove was an administrator of a small group of EliteTorrents members known as "Uploaders," who were responsible for supplying pirated content to the group.

Dove recruited members who had high-speed Internet connections, usually at least 50 times faster than a typical high-speed residential Internet connection, to become Uploaders, the DOJ said. Dove operated a high-speed server, which he used to distribute pirated content to the Uploaders, the agency said in a press release.

Dove's conviction is the eighth plea or conviction resulting from Operation D-Elite, a nationwide federal crackdown against the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games and music over P2P networks using BitTorrent, the DOJ said.

Operation D-Elite targeted leading members of EliteTorrents. At its height, EliteTorrents attracted more than 125,000 members and distributed about 700 movies, which were downloaded a total of 1.1 million times, the DOJ said. In many cases, digital works were available on EliteTorrents before they were released to the public, the DOJ said.

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