Sunday, April 11, 2004

Salt Lake software pirate
gets 3 years probation

A Salt Lake man was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., to three years probation for being a part of an underground network that uses the Internet in large-scale illegal distribution of copyrighted software.

Ross Ishida, 23, also known as "daphantm" or "daph," had pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

Ishida admitted he acted as a distributor of pirated software that he uploaded and downloaded numerous illegal copies to and from "warez" sites on the Internet.

He also admitted he installed and maintained his own "warez" server attached to a high-speed Internet link at the University of Hawaii. Ishida is a UH employee.

In the "warez" scene, "suppliers" obtain access to copyrighted software, video games, DVDs and MP3 music files, often before the titles are available to the public.

"Crackers" then use their technical skills to bypass digital copyright protections. "Couriers" such as Ishida distribute the pirated software for others to access, reproduce and re-distribute.

"Software piracy is theft by criminals, plain and simple," said Robin Avers, special agent in charge of the New England Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

"It is multibillion-dollar thievery and ICE will continue to target and dismantle those criminal organizations that abuse the Internet by facilitating and participating in this activity."

Ishida must spend the first six months of his probation under house arrest with electronic monitoring. Senior U.S. District Judge Ellen Burns also ordered Ishida to pay a $2,000 fine.

Ishida could not be reached for comment.


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