US man pleads guilty to music piracy charges

The California member of a warez group faces up to five years in prison, the DOJ says

A California man who participated in a so-called warez music-sharing group faces a sentence of five years in prison and a US$250,000 fine after pleading guilty to copyright infringement charges in a California court.

Richard Franco Montejano, 29, of Harbor City, California, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

From 2002 to September 2007, Montejano was a member and leader of an Internet music release group known as Old School Classics or OSC, the DOJ said. OSC was a warez group that specialized in the unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyright music using the Internet, the agency said.

Warez groups are music piracy organizations that seek to release music before it is commercially available. Warez groups share pre-release music with similar groups and with a wider audience through peer-to-peer networks, the DOJ said.

Montejano maintained a computer server at his Harbor City residence and allowed other OSC members to upload pirated music there, the DOJ said in a press release. A member of OSC uploaded the Kanye West album "Graduation" to Montejano's server in August 2007, more than one week before the album was commercially released. Montejano used his server to upload pirated music to other warez group servers, the agency said.

After the break-up in January 2007 of another warez group known as Rabid Neurosis or RNS, OSC began obtaining pre-release music from two former RNS members known to Montejano as "adeg" and "StJames." Both adeg and StJames, whose names are Bennie Glover and James Anthony Dockery, were employed at a North Carolina factory that manufactured compact discs for Universal Music Group and its subsidiary labels.

Glover and Dockery both pleaded guilty in October 2009 to conspiracy to commit willful copyright infringement. Both defendants were sentenced in January 2010 to three months in prison and two years of supervised release.

Montejano's sentencing is scheduled for July 25.

The case is part of a multiyear federal investigation of organized piracy groups responsible for the illegal distribution of significant amounts of copyright movies, software, games and music through the Internet. The investigation of music piracy groups was led by agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Washington, D.C., area.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Federal Bureau of InvestigationU.S. Department of JusticelegalUniversal Music GroupBennie GloverKanye WestU.S. District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaCriminalRichard Franco MontejanoJames Anthony Dockeryintellectual propertycopyright

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?