Federal Jury Convicts High Ranking Web Site Administrator in Peer-to-Peer Piracy Crackdown

WASHINGTON - A federal jury in Big Stone Gap, Va., convicted Daniel Dove, 26, formerly of Clintwood, Va., on one count each of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich announced today.

Dove was an administrator for EliteTorrents.org, an Internet piracy site that, until May 25, 2005, was a source of infringing copyrighted works, specifically pre-release movies. Elite Torrents used BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to distribute pirated works to thousands of members around the world. 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 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 case is the first criminal conviction after jury trial for P2P copyright infringement. Dove’s conviction is the eighth conviction resulting from Operation D-Elite, a nationwide federal crackdown against the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games and music over P2P networks employing the BitTorrent file distribution technology.

Operation D-Elite targeted leading members of a technologically sophisticated P2P network known as Elite Torrents. The jury was presented with evidence that, at its height, the Elite Torrents group attracted more than 125,000 members and facilitated the illegal distribution of approximately 700 movies, which were downloaded more than 1.1 million times. Evidence presented to the jury also established that massive amounts of high-value software, video games and music were made available to members of the Elite Torrents group. The wide variety of content selection included illegal copies of copyrighted works before they were available in retail stores or movie theaters.

At sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 9, 2008, Dove faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI field offices in San Diego and Richmond, Va., with significant assistance from the CyberCrime Fraud Unit, Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Motion Picture Association of America provided substantial assistance to the D-Elite investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Tyler G. Newby of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay V. Prabhu for the Eastern District of Virginia, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia. See, USDOJ.