Aussie in court over US piracy
By Jennifer Foreshew and Simon Hayes
Date: August 26, 2003
AN Australian man allegedly involved in an international software piracy ring appeared in court yesterday as authorities began extradition proceedings.
Hew Raymond Griffiths, 40, of Berkeley Vale on the NSW Central Coast, was arrested by Federal Police last Friday.
Mr Griffiths appeared at Wyong Local Court, where the matter was adjourned to be heard at Central Local Court in Sydney tomorrow. Bail was refused.
Mr Griffiths was indicted in March by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia over his alleged role in a global software piracy ring called Drink or Die.
The indictment in the US court accused Mr Griffiths of conspiring with others to make at least 10 infringing copies of one or more pieces of software.
He has been indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and one count of criminal copyright infringement. If convicted faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a $US500,000 ($885,000) fine.
The indictment of Mr Griffiths was part of a major push against internet piracy by Virginia Attorney Paul McNulty, whose office has one of the US's largest cybercrime investigation divisions, a spokeswoman for the office said.
Criminal action against alleged software pirates was unusual, but authorities were keen to press harder, she said.
"There's a big push on from this office right now and we have been doing it more frequently," she said.
The indictment is part of Operation Buccaneer, the largest online piracy investigation by US authorities.
To date, 20 defendants have been convicted of copyright infringement, and 10 sentenced to between 33 and 46 months prison.
Original article at: http://www.news.com.au
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