A fifth defendant has pleaded guilty in connection with Operation D-Elite, the first criminal enforcement action targeting individuals committing copyright infringement on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network using BitTorrent technology, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Eric F. Melgren for the District of Kansas announced today.
Sam Kuonen, 24, of Columbus, Ga., pleaded guilty to a two-count felony information charging him with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and criminal copyright infringement in violation of the Family Entertainment Copyright Act. The plea was entered before Judge Carlos Murguia, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Kansas. Mr. Kuonen faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 16, 2007 at 10:30 a.m.
On May 25, 2005, federal agents shut down the Elite Torrents network by taking control of its main server. After seizing the server, authorities replaced the existing Web page with a law enforcement message announcing that "This Site Has Been Permanently Shut Down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)." Within only one week, the law enforcement message was viewed over half a million times.