Warez Ringleader Pleads Guilty to Copyright Infringement

A Harbor City, Calif., man has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit criminal copyright infringement, spearheading a “warez” collective that illegally reproduced and distributed copyrighted music, according to the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

In his plea agreement, Richard Franco Montejano, 29, admitted to having been a member and leader of the warez group “Old School Classics” or “OSC.” He admitted to maintaining a computer server to which other OSC members uploaded pirated music from artists such as Kanye West. West’s album “Graduation” was uploaded to Montejano’s server in August 2007,  more than a week prior to its intended commercial release.

In addition, Montejano admitted that after the breakup of another warez group known as “Rabid Neurosis” or “RNS,” OSC began receiving prereleased music from two former RNS members known as “adeg” and “StJames.” Those aliases belonged to Bennie Glover and James Anthony Dockery, who both worked at a North Carolina factory that manufactured compact discs for Universal Music Group and its subsidiary labels.

After pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit willful copyright infringement, Glover and Dockery were sentenced to three months in prison and two years of supervised release.

Montejano will be sentenced July 25, 2011, and could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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