Pre-release music pirates face 4 years in prison, $250k fine

Four members of the group Rabid Neuroses (RNS) have been indicted for conspiring to commit copyright infringement with pre-release music and albums. The four face jail time if found guilty, while a fifth has already pleaded guilty and a sixth faces sentencing soon.

If illegally copying music files doesn't annoy the RIAA enough, P2P leaks of pre-release albums are enough to send content owners into a blind rage. The industry seems to consider pre-release albums to be worth much more than they are after their release, and when law enforcement manages to catch a few of those responsible for the leaks, they go to town. Such is the case with four members of piracy group Rabid Neurosis (or RNS, for short) who were indicted this week for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.

The group was allegedly led by 29-year-old Adil R. Cassim and spent the better part of a decade (1999 to "at least" 2007) illegally distributing copyrighted songs online. According to the indictment, RNS made a name for itself for being a "pre-release group" or a "first provider," meaning that members were able to provide copies of songs and albums before commercial release in the US. "The supply of pre-release music was often provided by music industry insiders, such as employees of compact disc manufacturing plants, radio stations, and retailers, who typically receive advance copies of music prior to its commercial release," read the court documents.

Because there was competition between piracy groups to see who could get unreleased albums up faster, RNS tagged its offerings so that everyone downloading them could see where they came from. This, of course, also means that law enforcement has been able to see how many albums have RNS' fingerprints all over them.

The US Department of Justice doesn't specify exactly how many songs the four individuals are responsible for distributing, but refers to them in the "thousands" in the indictment, saying that they include the works of Jay-Z, Eminem, Us, and Fallout Boy. The group apparently conspired by assigning different members to different tasks, such as obtaining the works, ripping, encoding, and managing servers, among other things.

The four face five years in prison each and a fine of $250,000, as well as three years of supervised release. Additionally, two others involved with RNS have been charged, with one already pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement earlier this week and the other facing sentencing on December 4. A quick search online shows that RNS quit putting albums online (at least under that name) in January of 2007, so the group has been out of commission for awhile. Those who upload pre-releases may want to consider covering their tracks a little bit better if they want to keep up their pirating ways.

Source: arstechnica

Tags: Internet, P2P, RIAA

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