The first conviction related to the BitTorrent file-sharing network has been handed down, with a 23-year-old Virginia man sentenced to five months in prison plus five months home detention for his involvement in a BitTorrent node.
Grant Stanley of Wise, Va. was also fined $3,000 and would have three years of supervised release. He had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and copyright infringement charges under the Family Entertainment Copyright Act.
Stanley had run the BitTorrent node known as Elite Torrents with two other individuals. The service had more than 133,000 members and was estimated to have distributed some 2 million movie files, according to a government statement.
"We hope this case sends the message that cyberspace will not provide a shield of anonymity for those who choose to break our copyright laws," United States Attorney John Brownlee said.
The creator of BitTorrent, Bram Cohen, has worked to distance himself from those who have chosen to use the technology for illicit purposes. In November of last year, he signed a deal with the MPAA to shield himself from legal action by the group.
"BitTorrent Inc. discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so," Cohen said in a statement at the time.
However, Cohen's agreement appears for the most part to be meaningless; many people searches on various BitTorrent sites turned up pirated software, music, movies, and television shows, indicating it is still easy to obtain copyrighted material through the service.