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Sharebeast operator pleads guilty to copyright infringement

By | Published on Tuesday 12 September 2017

Sharebeast

The man behind the Sharebeast piracy operation has pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement two years after American authorities seized his domains.

As previously reported, when the US Department Of Justice moved to shut down the Sharebeast set-up in 2015, the Recording Industry Association Of America said that the piracy network was “responsible for the distribution of a massive library of popular albums and tracks and has been particularly problematic in its distribution of pre-release leaks of thousands of songs”.

Sharebeast operator Artur Sargsyan was subsequently charged with criminal copyright infringement, ultimately leading to last week’s guilty plea.

Confirming that development, US Attorney John Horn told reporters: “Through Sharebeast and other related sites, this defendant profited by illegally distributing copyrighted music and albums on a massive scale. The collective work of the FBI and our international law enforcement partners have shut down the Sharebeast websites and prevented further economic losses by scores of musicians and artists”.

Meanwhile, speaking for the feds, the FBI’s David J LeValley added: “This is another example of how the FBI and its international law enforcement partners, working together, make it difficult for criminals to profit from illegal activities on the internet. Illegally making money off of the talent of hard working artists will not go unpunished thanks to the dedication and hard work of our FBI agents”.

For the record industry, the authorities taking criminal action against file-sharing set-ups is in many ways a double win. First, it means law enforcement do most of the legwork. Plus, it’s generally believed that criminal sanctions are more likely to prove a deterrent to other pirates than civil damages, especially piracy purveyors based in the US who are of limited means, for whom the threat of mega-bucks damages that they could never afford to pay anyway don’t seem quite real.

The RIAA’s piracy boss Brad Buckles welcomed the news of Sargsyan’s guilty plea, stating that: “Sharebeast and its related sites represented the most popular network of infringing music sites operated out of the United States. The network was responsible for providing millions of downloads of popular music files including unauthorised pre-release albums and tracks. This illicit activity was a gut-punch to music creators who were paid nothing by the service”.

He went on: “We are incredibly grateful for the government’s commitment to protecting the rights of artists and labels. We especially thank the dedicated agents of the FBI who painstakingly unravelled this criminal enterprise, and US Attorney John Horn and his team for their work and diligence in seeing this case to its successful conclusion”.



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