Thanks @theJusticeDept and @FBIAtlanta! Sharebeast.com owner pleads guilty to criminal copyright infringement

[Editor Charlie sez: Thank you DOJ, FBI and RIAA!]

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 8, 2017

Sharebeast.com owner pleads guilty to criminal copyright infringement

ATLANTA – Artur Sargsyan has pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal copyright infringement related to his ownership and administration of Sharebeast.com, a file-sharing website that facilitated the unauthorized distribution and reproduction of over 1 billion copies of copyrighted works.

“Through Sharebeast and other related sites, this defendant profited by illegally distributing copyrighted music and albums on a massive scale,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “The collective work of the FBI and our international law enforcement partners have shut down the Sharebeast websites and prevented further economic losses by scores of musicians and artists.”

“This is another example of how the FBI and its international law enforcement partners, working together, make it difficult for criminals to profit from illegal activities on the internet,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta. “Illegally making money off of the talent of hard working artists will not go unpunished thanks to the dedication and hard work of our FBI agents.”

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: Artur Sargsyan owned and operated a number of websites including Sharebeast.com, Newjams.net, and Albumjams.com. From at least 2012 through 2015, Sargsyan illegally distributed and reproduced copyrighted works through Sharebeast.com. Using a network of websites that he owned and operated, including Newjams.net and Albumjams.com, Sargsyan created links to a wide swath of copyright-protected music that was stored on Sharebeast.com. Sharebeast illegally stored and distributed works from scores of artists including Bruno Mars, Linkin Park, Pitbull, Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, Destiny’s Child, Ciara, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber.

In numerous instances, Sharebeast distributed and reproduced pre-release copyrighted works meaning that Sargsyan made the songs available before they were commercially available to paying consumers.

From 2012 through 2015, Sargsyan received over 100 emails notifying him that Sharebeast was hosting copyright-infringing works. Despite receiving such notices, the copyright-infringing files were still available for download.

In August 2015, the United States seized control of the domain names Sharebeast.com, Newjams.net, and Albumjams.com. And with the assistance of international law enforcement partners in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the FBI seized the computer servers used by Sargsyan to illegally distribute the copyrighted music worldwide.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Sharebeast.com was the largest online file-sharing website specializing in the reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted music operating out of the United States.

Sentencing for Artur Sargsyan, 29, of Glendale, California has been scheduled for December 4, 2017 at 10:30 am before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samir Kaushal and Kamal Ghali are prosecuting the case. The prosecution and seizure of the website domain names reflects a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), the Office of International Affairs, the FBI’s filed offices in Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Substantial assistance was provided by CCIPS, United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, and the Ministry of Security and Justice in the Netherlands, as well as the CCIPS Cyber Crime Lab.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov(link sends e-mail) or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s):
Consumer Protection

@davidclowery: Six Real Problems in Music Business the Obama DOJ Should be Investigating

The Department of Justice has indicated that it views the fact that a tiny percentage of songwriters can refuse to license their songs to monopoly digital services as an existential threat to competition in the digital music marketplace.

Huh??!!

This is some spectacular through-the-looking-glass thinking right there.  The kind of mass-hysteria-groupthink you can only get  when the entire government is run by lawyers that all went to one of four elite copyleft law schools. It takes a special kind of arrogance that only a Harvard, Stanford, Yale or Berkeley law degree gives you to not ask: Aren’t the monopoly digital services actually the real threats to competition?   And hasn’t the DOJ by forcing virtually all songwriters to license their songs to these services at below market rates created monopsonies that are driving consolidation among music publishers?  Aren’t the actions of DOJ antitrust lawyers killing competition rather than enhancing it?

But that all presupposes that the Department of Justice is in the business of meting out justice  and protecting the little guy rather than protecting a few politically favored corporations.   To illustrate I’ve come up with 6 real pressing problems that a Department of Justice that was interested in justice would pursue.

Read the post on The Trichordist

@kayhanley: THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HATES SONGWRITERS: A PRIMER

If you read nothing else, read this post from songwriter Kay Hanley:

We, the songwriters, went to the Department of Justice to ask for relief and protection through the modification of the consent decrees. We didn’t even ask that these antiquated relics to be shredded into the compost heap of the 20th century where it belongs. We asked for help. We explained our position. We implored them to make common sense modifications to the consent decrees that might help make our industry just a bit more nimble in a fast moving digital marketplace.

Apparently, the Department Of Justice did not feel moved.  Because you want to know what they did instead? Instead, the DOJ’s Antitrust Division has inexplicably just made our plight significantly worse by distorting the language of the consent decrees to solve a problem that did not exist, bypassing decades-long industry practice by compelling ASCAP + BMI to issue licenses for fractions of songs they that they do not represent. This is known as 100% licensing and it is a nightmare for us, while paving a smoother, more carefree road for digital platforms to exploit our copyrights. They have done this despite our pleas, despite no monopolistic behavior on our side and thus, for seemingly for no good reason. No reason, that is, unless one considers that the head of Antitrust is Renata Hesse, former counsel for Google. And who is the primary beneficiary of this massive “FUCK YOU” to the songwriting profession? You guessed it: Google.

Read the post on WeAreSONA.