The Megaupload copyright infringement case saw its first conviction yesterday, Ars Technica reports. Programmer Andrus Nõmm plead guilty to felony copyright infringement and was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison.
Nõmm was arrested in Virginia earlier this week after years of fighting extradition in the Netherlands. He was arrested in the Netherlands in 2012.
Megaupload owner Kim Dotcom is accused of running the now-defunct file storage site as a piracy ring and encouraging users to upload copyrighted material illegally. Dotcom's servers were seized by police in 2012, but last year New Zealand's Court of Appeal ruled that police had to provide Dotcom copies of all data seized in the raid. Dotcom and the five other co-defendants are all fighting extradition from outside the US while criminal charges against them remain pending.
American criminal charges against the six co-defendants are pending
A statement from the Department of Justice says Nõmm admitted he was aware that copyrighted material was being stored on Megaupload's servers, including files containing the FBI's anti-piracy warning. "Nomm also admitted that he personally downloaded copyright-infringing files from the Mega websites," the statement says. "Despite his knowledge in this regard, Nomm continued to participate in the Mega Conspiracy."
In the same statement, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said, "We intend to see to it that all those responsible are held accountable for illegally enriching themselves by stealing the creative work of US artists and creators."
Dotcom's chief global counsel Ira Rothken told Ars Technica that the Department of Justice leveraged Nõmm's poor financial state and a "Hollywood style publicity stunt" to force a guilty plea. Kim Dotcom maintains Nõmm's innocence.
The US Justice system: An innocent coder pleads guilty after 3 years of DOJ abuse, with no end in sight, in order to move on with his life.— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) February 13, 2015
According to the Department of Justice, an extradition hearing for Dotcom and three other co-defendants is scheduled for June 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand.