LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – A Chicago man pleaded guilty today to a fe…

LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – A Chicago man pleaded guilty today to a felony charge for posting the first four episodes of this season’s “24” on the Internet before they were originally aired on the Fox television network earlier this year.

Jorge Romero, 25, admitted that he uploaded the first two episodes of this season’s “24” to the website on January 6 – eight days before it was broadcast on Fox. Romero also admitted uploading the second two episodes of “24” to the same website on January 7. Romero further admitted that, after uploading the episodes, he publicized the uploads by providing links on other publicly available sites, including Fox broadcast the first four episodes of “24” on January 14 and 15, and subsequently released the four-episode season premier on DVD.

The case began when Fox employees saw the yet-to-be released episodes on prior to the release date. After investigators determined that the accounts used to upload the episodes were assigned to Romero and his family, law enforcement agents obtained a search warrant for Romero’s home. During the search, agents seized a computer on which they found evidence that Romero uploaded the stolen materials. The agents also interviewed Romero, who acknowledged his role in the scheme.

Fox has reported that its losses from this infringement exceeded $4 million.

Romero pleaded guilty to uploading copyrighted material to a publicly accessible computer network knowing the work was intended for commercial distribution, a felony that carries a statutory maximum sentence of three years in federal prison.

Romero pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on September 10.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorneys Erik M. Silber
Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section
(213) 894-6482

Assistant United States Attorney Mark C. Krause
Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section
(213) 894-3493

Release No. 07-087

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