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Three charged in massive US music, software piracy scheme

Posted by iTech - 2005-10-13

A federal grand jury indicted three men on charges of music and software piracy in what the recording industry says is the largest CD manufacturing seizure in the United States, authorities said.
The US Attorney's Office in San Francisco said the indicted defendants were charged with infringing the US copyrights of more than 325,000 CDs containing music and software.

"The allegations of massive piracy of music and software reflect the potential loss of millions of dollars to the artists and businesses who legitimately own the copyrights on these works," US Attorney Kevin Ryan said.

"These individuals are charged with affixing counterfeit labels on CDs to create the appearance of legitimacy, including the     FBI Anti-Piracy Warning that stated 'Unauthorized copying is punishable under federal law.'"

The indictment follows the arrests of five individuals and searches of 13 locations in California and Texas on October 6 as part of "Operation Remaster," the Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Operation Remaster is an undercover law enforcement operation in Northern California targeting the large-scale suppliers of pirated copyrighted music, software, and movies.

Led by state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, it targets replicators, the companies or individuals who use sophisticated machinery to create hundreds of thousands of copies of copyrighted works that are then distributed.

The defendants, all California residents, were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and traffic in counterfeit labels; criminal copyright infringement; trafficking in counterfeit labels; and aiding and abetting.

The Attorney's Office identified them as Ye Teng Wen, aka Michael Wen, 29, of Union City; Hao He, aka Kevin He, 30, of Union City; and Yaobin Zhai, aka Ben Zhai, 33, of Fremont.

The defendants were released on bond pending their trial. Their initial appearance in court is set for October 27.

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