Four members of prolific illegal file sharing group iMAGiNE have been ordered to serve prison terms after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. The group's leader Jeramiah Perkins, 40, managed to receive the longest sentence ever handed to a convicted file sharer -- five years in federal prison.
Fellow cohort and defendant Gregory A. Cherwonik, 53, set the previous record in November with 40 months of prison time. Meanwhile, Sean Lovelady, 28, and Willie O. Lambert, 57, had already been ordered to serve 23 months and 30 months, respectively. A fifth iMAGiNE crew member is due for sentencing in March.
IMAGiNE is well-known for recording and sharing box office movies long before they arrive in DVD format. The pirate release group would record cinema showings with a camcorder while another member would capture threatre audio separately for higher fidelity. The group would then mux the video and audio streams together, creating a final product to be distributed via file sharing networks like BitTorrent.
During and as part of the conspiracy, the conspirators played different roles in the operation of the IMAGiNE Group and participated in the conspiracy through various criminal acts. These roles included acting as website owner/operator, website administrators, webpage designer/coder, website moderators, movie "cammers," audio recorders or "cappers" who captured motion picture audio, "encoders" (who sharpened, straightened, and edited video), and "syncers" (who synchronized the video and audio files).
Just some of the movies pirated by iMAGiNE include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Captain America: The First Avenger, Little Fockers, Avatar, The Tourist and Iron Man 2. Also mentioned in the court document was pirated software, namely seeding Windows 7 without the "authorization of the copyright holder".
The indictment accuses iMAGiNE members of distributing "thousands" of copyrighted works and supporting their efforts through a system of websites, memberships and PayPal donations.