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Software piracy head sent to prison

Thanks neo1980 for the heads up. The leader of "DrinkorDie," one of the oldest and largest international software piracy rings on the Internet, was sentenced on Friday to three years and eight months in prison for conspiring to commit copyright infringement, U.S. officials said.

They said John Sankus, 28, of Philadelphia, whose screen name was HellFire spelled backward, received the sentence as part of plea agreement reached with prosecutors in February.

Prosecutors have described DrinkorDie as a highly structured, security-conscious group that illegally reproduced and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of copyrighted works around the world.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia, sentenced Sankus, who supervised the daily operation of about 65 group members in more than 12 nations. He could have received a maximum of five years in prison.

Another group member, Barry Erickson, was sentenced earlier this May to 33 months in prison.

"John Sankus and his techno-gang operated in the faceless world of the Internet and thought they would never be caught. They were wrong. These sentences ... should send a message to others entertaining similar beliefs of invincibility," U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty said in a statement.

The officials said nine individuals have pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria as part of the government's investigation into the group's activities.

News source: CNN Sci-Tech - Software piracy head sent to prison

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