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MPAA helps land criminal conviction in P2P piracy case

Conviction was part of a federal crackdown that targeted administrators and people who provided content that was distributed through the BitTorrents hub.

The Motion Picture Association of America has helped convict an administrator for EliteTorrents.org, a peer-to-peer site, of felony copyright infringement and conspiracy, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday.

Daniel Dove, 26, of Clintwood, Va., was the first criminal conviction after jury trial for peer-to-peer copyright infringement and the eighth overall resulting from a federal crackdown called Operation D-Elite that targeted administrators and people who provided content that was distributed through the BitTorrents hub.

The case began in 2005, when federal agents raided and shut down the popular Web site that had distributed copyrighted music and movies, including Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. At that time, Homeland Security agents from several divisions served search warrants on 10 people around the country suspected of being involved with the Elite Torrents site, and took over the group's main server.

According to prosecutors, EliteTorrents attracted more than 125,000 members and assisted in the illegal distribution of about 700 movies, which were downloaded more than 1.1 million times. According to the Justice Department, Dove led a group of "uploaders" that supplied pirated content to the group, as well as recruiting members with ultra-fast broadband connections to become uploaders. Prosecutors also said Dove operated a high-speed server himself.

The MPAA "provided substantial assistance" to the investigation, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Dove faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in September, the Justice Department said.

Scott McCausland, who used to be an administrator of the EliteTorrents server before the raid, pleaded guilty in 2006 to two copyright-related charges over the uploading of Star Wars: Episode III to the Internet. As a result, he was sentenced to five months in jail and five months' home confinement.

McCausland--a Linux user--reported in 2007 that the terms of his sentence meant he would have to install Windows if he wanted to use a computer during his probation.