Apocalypse now for 'Apocalypse Crew'

CIOL Bureau
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WASHINGTON: Three members of an online music piracy operation pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday in response to a government crackdown, the U.S. Justice Department said.


Members of the group "Apocalypse Crew" pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the department said.

Derek Borchardt, 21, of Charlotte, North Carolina; Matthew Howard, 24, of Longmont, Colorado; and Aaron Jones, 31, of Hillsboro, Oregon, each obtained digital "pre-release" copies of songs and albums before their U.S. commercial release, the government said. The music was then distributed globally through file-sharing networks.

The supply of pre-release music was often provided by music industry insiders, employees of music magazine publishers, or workers at compact disc manufacturing plants and retailers, the Justice Department said.


The material was sent to secure computer servers and then distributed globally, "filtering down to peer-to-peer and other public file sharing networks accessible to anyone with Internet access and potentially appearing for sale around the world," it added.

A fourth defendant, George Hayes, 31, of Danville, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty to one count of criminal copyright infringement for his involvement in another pre-release music group called "Chromance."

Each of the four men faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, the Justice Department said.

Attorneys representing the four defendants either declined comment or were not immediately available.