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Intellectual Property Rights

North Carolina man involved in software piracy conspiracy is sentenced

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- A North Carolina man was sentenced for his role in a software piracy ring after an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

William Parrott, also known as "niteranger," 39, of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., was sentenced today to two years of probation for his role in a software piracy ring. Parrott was also ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $500. On March 10, 2009, Parrott pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

According to documents filed with the court and statements made in court, Parrott and others participated in the "warez scene," which is an underground online community consisting of individuals and organized groups who use the Internet to engage in the large-scale, illegal distribution of copyrighted software. In the warez scene, certain participants (known as "suppliers") are able to obtain access to copyrighted software, video games, DBD movies and MP3 music files, often before those titles are even available to the general public. Other participants, known as "crackers," then use their technical skills to circumvent or "crack" the digital copyright protections. Others, known as "couriers," then distribute the pirated software to various file storage sites ("FTP sites") on the Internet for others to access, reproduce and further distribute. The leading warez groups competed with one another to attain the reputation as the fastest, highest quality providers of pirated materials.

In approximately 2001, Parrott, with the assistance of a co-conspirator, began operating a warez server known as "Nite Ranger Hideout" (NRH). From November 2002 through April 2003, Parrott uploaded approximately 1477 files and downloaded approximately 13,109 files from the NRH site.

This case was investigated by ICE and was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Edward Change of the District of Connecticut and Clement J. McGovern from the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice.