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Govt. Charges 17 in Software Piracy

May 5, 2000

CHICAGO (AP) _ Seventeen high-tech professionals and others were indicted Thursday on federal charges of taking part in what authorities said was a ring of Internet pirates who hijacked software worth more than $1 million.

``This is the most significant investigation of copyright infringement involving the use of the Internet conducted to date by the FBI,″ said Kathleen McChesney, head of the FBI’s Chicago office.

The ring, which dubbed itself ``Pirates with Attitudes,″ stretched overseas, with one of those named in the indictment believed to be living in Belgium and another in Sweden, officials said.

The ring operated from an Internet site called ‘Sentinel’ at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada, the officials said. New members supplied advanced software that was not yet available to the public on the Internet in order to join.

The ring allegedly uploaded 5,000 software programs worth more than $1 million.

The government said 12 of those indicted were members of the underground organization while the five others were employees of Intel Corp., four of whom allegedly supplied hardware to the group.

The individuals indicted were charged with conspiracy to infringe on copyrights, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution.

Arraignments were set for May 25 in Chicago.

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