Three California men were indicted Wednesday for their alleged participation in a "massive" software and music-CD copying scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California.
Arrests in the scheme to illegally copy 325,000 software and music CDs were part of the largest CD manufacturing seizure in the U.S., the attorney's office said. The indictments follow the arrests of five people and searches of 13 locations in California and Texas on October 6.
Software, Music Copied
Two of the suspects were involved the large-scale replication of Symantec antivirus software, Attorney Kevin Ryan's office said in a press release. All three were also charged with illegally copying Latin music, the office said.
Indicted late Wednesday were Ye Teng Wen, also known as Michael Wen; Hao He, also known as Kevin He, both of Union City, California; and Yaobin Zhai, also known as Ben Zhai, of Fremont, California.
The three were charged in two separate indictments for conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and traffic in counterfeit labels; criminal copyright infringement; trafficking in counterfeit labels; and aiding and abetting, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Wen and He were charged in a ten-count indictment, and Zhai was charged in a seven-count indictment.
Replicators can use sophisticated equipment, sometimes including silk-screening machines to copy artwork on CDs or DVDs, to make tens of thousands of counterfeit CDs or DVDs, the U.S. attorney's office said. A counterfeit-music CD found at a retail store last month in Chicago came from two of the people arrested in this operation, law enforcement said.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America, which have brought numerous copyright charges in recent years, both praised the antipiracy operation. Law enforcement officers "successfully toppled a highly sophisticated pirate network capable of generating millions of dollars in illegal proceeds," said Mitch Bainwol, the RIAA's chair and CEO, in a statement.
Wen, He and Zhai are scheduled to make their initial court appearance on the indictment October 27. Zhai was released Wednesday on a $150,000 bond. Wen and He were released on October 6 on $75,000 bonds.