Two plead guilty in 'warez' piracy case

Two plead guilty in 'warez' piracy case

Two men pleaded guilty yesterday to criminal copyright infringement for their involvement in an Internet piracy, or 'warez,' group known as DrinkOrDie.

Kentaga Kartadinata and Mike Nguyen, both of Los Angeles, face statutory minimum sentences of five years in federal prison, fines of up to $250,000 each and possible payment of restitution to their victims, according to the Justice Department.

Judge Dean Pregerson will sentence Kartadinata and Nguyen in February 2003 in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Under their plea agreements, they are required to fully cooperate with federal investigators and prosecutors in tracking down other Internet copyright violators indefinitely.

The Customs Service targeted the DrinkOrDie warez gang as part of its Operation Buccaneer, in which 58 search warrants were served on Dec. 11 in the United States, Australia, England, Finland and Norway. The searches led to the seizure of more than 100 computers linked to the distribution of pirated applications, games, movies and music via the Internet.

Kartadinata and Nguyen confessed to operating an electronic mail server that contained thousands of pirated software titles. Their plea agreements also revealed how warez members hid computers within the systems of businesses such as the Bank of America and universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Los Angeles to steal bandwidth that had been purchased by those institutions.

Warez, usually pronounced 'wares,' is a term used by software pirates for software that has been stripped of its copyrights.

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