EliteTorrents was one of the largest and most popular BitTorrent trackers during 2003-2005. Administrators of the site were responsible for uploading the prerelease of Star Wars, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, 12 hours prior to its theatrical release. The repercussions of their actions were swift, as on May 25, 2005, the collective efforts of the MPAA, FBI, local police and US Customs forced the site off line and the administrators in custody during operation D-Elite.
Today's news from the Department of Justice announced that one of the remaining administrators, Daniel Dove, was convicted by a jury of his peers for criminal copyright infringment. His fellow administrators Scott McCausland and Grant Stanley pled guilty
rather than face a jury trial.
"The jury was presented with evidence that Dove was an administrator of a small group of Elite Torrents members known as "Uploaders," who were responsible for supplying pirated content to the group," the Department of Justice press release
states. "The evidence showed that Dove recruited members who had very high-speed Internet connections, usually at least 50 times faster than a typical high-speed residential Internet connection, to become Uploaders. The evidence also showed that Dove operated a high-speed server, which he used to distribute pirated content to the Uploaders."
The press release goes on say the case is the "first criminal conviction after jury trial for P2P copyright infringement." Most would agree, however, that Daniel stands in a league far removed from the overwhelming majority of file-sharers. The overall impact of this conviction breaks little new ground, as uploaders have always been the historical target of copyright enforcement. Additionally, accused P2P uploaders such as Jamie Thomas have been tried in civil court, not criminal.
Sentencing is scheduled for September of this year. He faces up to 10 years in prison, far longer than the 5 month stay of his fellow administrators.