NinjaVideo cofounder pleads guilty to copyright infringement.

If you have visited the site Ninjavideo.net site since June 2010, this is the image you see on their web site. In June 2010, the U.S. Government seized the site for copyright infringement. According to Ars Technica, the government stated the following in regards to the site:

While visitors to the website were permitted to download infringing content for free, they were also invited to make donations. A premium member could request specific content, and the site administrators would locate and add the content to to the site.

Despite knowing this, the government did not file charges against the site administrators until two weeks ago. Now the first individual has already pleaded guilty. Matthew David Howard Smith, a 23-year old from North Carolina, has plead guilty to criminal copyright infringement among other charges. Smith ran the site from 2008 until it was shut down.

The government says that Smith admitted to signing ad deals that grossed $500,000 during the time he ran the site. He also designed many of the site's features. One of the other accused administrators, Hana "Phara" Beshara, says that her group's infringement is a "gray area" of copyright law. Smith will be sentenced on December 16 and faces up to five years in prison. Beshara and two other individuals will be facing trial in February, unless they plead out.

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15 Comments

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It depends if he was actually hosting the files or not. If he was doing what most sites do now, he can claim not guilty. It would be the fault of sites like megaupload and not his own.

DPyro said,
It depends if he was actually hosting the files or not. If he was doing what most sites do now, he can claim not guilty. It would be the fault of sites like megaupload and not his own.

as said above being found guilty after trail is much worse.. youll have to pay for the other sides lawyers and all that crap..

im not sure if the guy was actually hosting the files himself. but he said he was guilty. so hes ****ed.

even if he was uploading the files himself to some filehost. he was still accepting donations to provide users with requested material.

id like neowin to check out the other 3 peoples cases too. im pretty interested in seeing what happens to Hana "Phara" Beshara. Seems like the only smart one for saying the law has a bunch of gray areas.

MariosX said,
Whats up with the eagle logos?

First one is the seal of the DOJ.
Second is he seal of IPR

I still dont understand why ICE (Homeland Security) takes down sites. I mean seriously. These fools should be catching drug runners down on the mexican boarder. but what are they doing, taking down websites hosted on the WORLD WIDE WEB.

you know why the US has so few IT jobs. because everything has moved over seas where there are NO LAWS.

but still somehow the US is taking domains. such bull****.

ShareShiz said,
$500k in ads and the site was only online for 2 years... ****en epic

Should not the people who paid for ads on an obvious illegal web site be guilty of something ?

I mean financing crime is surely illegal. But i guess those people are too big so only the kids go to jail.

I think it's sad. Don't say what he did was okay. But we are sending our kids to jail while we let sharks in suit break the law on a regular basis without paying the price. Something is wrong ...

LaP said,

Should not the people who paid for ads on an obvious illegal web site be guilty of something ?

I mean financing crime is surely illegal. But i guess those people are too big so only the kids go to jail.

I think it's sad. Don't say what he did was okay. But we are sending our kids to jail while we let sharks in suit break the law on a regular basis without paying the price. Something is wrong ...

google just had to pay something like $500million for making money off of illegal sites using google ads. technically they should go after the ad companies too.. but they dont care.

He shouldn't have pleaded guilty. The worst that could happen if you plead not guilty is they find you guilty.

DPyro said,
He shouldn't have pleaded guilty. The worst that could happen if you plead not guilty is they find you guilty.

Plea bargains. I'm sure his lawyer advised him on the best course of action to get the lightest possible sentence, and in this case he was obviously guilty so better to take what they'll give you.

DPyro said,
He shouldn't have pleaded guilty. The worst that could happen if you plead not guilty is they find you guilty.

I think if you plead not guilty, and they find you guilty you get a worse punishment because you tried to hide your guilt from the court.